TIME celebrities

George Clooney Rejects the Daily Mail’s Apology Over Amal Alamuddin

George Clooney is not one to forgive and forget. Not when it comes to his fiancée Amal Alamuddin, anyway

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Actor George Clooney has rejected the Daily Mail’s apology over a story in which the tabloid claimed the Lebanese mother of his fiancée opposed their marriage — and preferred that she be married to a member of the Druze religious group.

The small Druze community is found mostly in Lebanon, Syria and Israel. While their monotheistic faith stems from a branch of Shi‘ite Islam, it has adopted teachings from a number of other religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Gnosticism.

The Oscar-winning actor previously slammed the Mail’s article about the family’s attitude to his engagement to Amal Alamuddin, saying the story was “completely fabricated” and exploited “religious differences where none exist.”

“It says Amal’s mother has been telling ‘half of Beirut’ that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride,” wrote Clooney.

On Wednesday the British tabloid (sort of) apologized. The Mail’s statement started by denying Clooney’s fabrication claims and added that the story was based on a trusted journalist’s conversations with a long-standing contact who has strong Lebanese connections. But the statement closed with, “However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize.”

Today, Clooney rebuffed the apology in USA Today, saying that the Mail knew ahead of time that it was not telling the truth. He referred to the tabloid’s April article that said Alamuddin’s father, a professor, had married outside the Druze faith and that her mother, a journalist, was not a Druze member. Both of Alamuddin’s parents are originally from Beirut.

“What separates this from all of the ridiculous things the Mail makes up is that now, by their own admission, it can be proved to be a lie. In fact, a premeditated lie,” wrote Clooney.

“So I thank the Mail for its apology. Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they’ve exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid,” he said.

[USA Today]

TIME

Daily Mail Takes Down George Clooney Article After Actor Blasts it in Op-Ed

Omega Le Jardin Secret
Actor George Clooney arrives for the red carpet of Omega Le Jardin Secret dinner party on May 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China. Feng Li--Getty Images

The actor slammed the "Daily Mail" for a false story about his fiancee's family, prompting the publication to apologize and remove the piece

What a week for celebrity op-eds!

First, we have Taylor Swift opining on the future of the music industry for the Wall Street Journal and now we have none other than George Clooney sounding off in USA Today. The subject of Clooney’s op-ed? The Daily Mail, which Clooney essentially chews up and spits out. Clooney rages against a story in the publication that claimed his upcoming nuptials to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin was a major source of contention for his fiancée’s family, particularly her mother, Baria, who supposedly opposed their engagement on religious grounds.

Clooney writes:

It says Amal’s mother has been telling “half of Beirut” that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride.

Let me repeat that: the death of the bride.

First of all, none of the story is factually true. Amal’s mother is not Druze. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage.

Clooney goes on to write that an incorrect story about a celebrity isn’t the issue — as he’s apparently “used to the Daily Mail making up stories” about him — but that this particular story goes beyond celebrity gossip: “The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous.”

The actor, who is the son of retired broadcast journalist Nick Clooney, explains that he has respect for right to freedom of speech — and knows that it will interfere with his private life from time to time — but he seems to view the publication as far more sinister. He writes:

The Daily Mail, more than any other organization that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up. And when they put my family and my friends in harm’s way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence.

For its part, the Daily Mail denies fabricating the story. In an email to TIME, a MailOnline spokesman said that the “story was not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist … However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize to him, Miss Amal Alamuddin and her mother, Baria, for any distress caused. We have removed the article from our website and will be contacting Mr. Clooney’s representatives to discuss giving him the opportunity to set the record straight.”

Yet Clooney certainly isn’t the first person to strike back at the British publication, which was named the most widely read news website in the world in 2012 with upwards of 52 million visitors a month. Just a few months ago, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling won a libel lawsuit against the paper; singer Elton John and business mogul Alan Sugar have also won libel suits against the Daily Mail.

And then there are those who have leveled their criticism specifically against the publication’s website, Mail Online, which traffics largely in celebrity gossip. The site’s “Femail” section, which tends to focus on women celebrities and their bodies and what they may or may not be wearing at any given moment they’re caught by the paparazzi, is known for being petty or cruel or demeaning.

Though criticism lobbed at the website’s “Femail” content doesn’t tend to center on whether the stories are factual or not, many do view them as destructive in another way. In 2012, Observer columnist Eva Wiseman wrote that she was partaking in a self-inflicted boycott of the Mail Online, because “I was boring myself with my constant outrage at the sidebar’s dissection of women, and worried that it was making me more judgy … As judgmental as the sidebar, whose camera is constantly focused on pop stars’ thighs.”

While it might be hard to reconcile the denunciations of the Daily Mail and its extreme popularity — again, 52 million visitors a month on the website — it appears as if Clooney has struck a fresh cord of outrage. Online and social media comments, including many from journalists and editors, are almost unanimously and forcefully in support of the actor. As Clooney himself notes, the Daily Mail “must be so very proud.”

TIME celebrities

George Clooney Might Get Married in Downton Abbey

Omega Le Jardin Secret Dinner Party
George Clooney ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Take that, Kim and Kanye

Not to be outdone by the lavish European ceremony from a certain #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple, reformed bachelor George Clooney and his normal-person fiancé, attorney Amal Alamuddin, just might be getting married in the castle from Downton Abbey.

Alamuddin loves the hit PBS show, the Daily Mail reports, and Clooney helped get the hook-up from Downton‘s very own Hugh Bonneville (a.k.a Lord Robert Crawley), with whom he starred in this year’s The Monuments Men. The couple reportedly plans to marry in September, around the time of their one-year anniversary.

Highclere Castle’s location in the English countryside is convenient for the couple: Alamuddin works in London and has family nearby, while the 1,000-acre property offers some security and seclusion for an A-lister like Clooney. No word yet on whether Dame Maggie Smith will be on hand to deliver withering put-downs to unseemly guests.

[Daily Mail]

TIME

George Clooney’s Very Public Spat With Casino Mogul Steve Wynn

Vegas honcho calls the newly-engaged star "mollycoddled." Clooney says Wynn "needs to take off his red sparkly dinner jacket" and delivers other choice barbs in a statement released on Friday

George Clooney is not pulling punches in his recent spat with Las Vegas casino mogul and Republican donor Steve Wynn.

Wynn and the Hollywood star reportedly first clashed in a war of words during a political argument earlier this month in Las Vegas after Wynn allegedly called President Barack Obama a dirty word. In an interview posted Friday on Bloomberg TV’s “Market Makers,” Wynn denied making the statement about Obama, said Clooney had been drinking and that Hollywood A-listers like him “live in a very strange bubble” and are “molly coddled”:

Artists, actors, people like that, they live in a very strange bubble of their own. They’re molly coddled, they’re highly privileged. We’re talking about successful artists like George, or Barbra Streisand or any other really successful performing artist. They live in a relatively small world. The people around them are very solicitous and caring for them. They have a world view that therefore everything should be given to everybody because everything has been given to them.

Wynn added that despite stars’ negative qualities, he and others in Las Vegas “love them anyway.”

He was a little into the tequila,” Wynn said of Clooney during a reportedly heated exchange the two had recently during a group dinner. “But he is fun to be with. He’s a good storyteller.”

Clooney replied with a pointed statement of his own, which he released to People on Friday:

He said I live in a bubble. More of a bubble than Las Vegas? Honestly? He says I’m ‘molly coddled,’ that I’m surrounded by people who coddle me. I would suggest that Mr. Wynn look to his left and right and find anyone in his sphere that says anything but ‘yes’ to him. Emphatically. I did not attend a private boys’ school, I worked in tobacco fields and in stock rooms, and construction sites. I’ve been broke more of my life than I have been successful, and I understand the meaning of being an employee and how difficult it is to make ends meet.

Steve is one of the richest men in the world and he should be congratulated for it, but he needs to take off his red sparkly dinner jacket and roll up his sleeves every once in a while and understand what most of the country is actually dealing with … or at least start with the fact that you can’t make up stories when eight people who are not on your payroll are sitting around you as witnesses.

 

TIME celebrities

Why Would Anyone Marry George Clooney?

'The Monuments Men' Premiere - 64th Berlinale International Film Festival
George Clooney attends The Monuments Men premiere during the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin on Feb. 8, 2014 Luca Teuchmann—WireImage

Amal Alamuddin is an Oxford-educated human-rights lawyer, he's a flaky actor with lots of baggage. She can do better

Poor George. He dated every B-list model he could, but never got a ring on his finger. He stands by as BFFs Matt Damon and Brad Pitt get photographed with their broods of cute kids. He watched his beautiful ex-wife Talia Balsam and her new husband John Slattery become a Mad Men power couple. George Clooney: always a groomsman, never a groom.

But those days are over. He’s finally been swept off his feet by the brilliant and talented Amal Alamuddin, and her law firm has confirmed the pair are engaged. Maybe finally Clooney can get a shred of happiness in his lonely, barren life. Jennifer Aniston knows what it’s like.

Amal Alamuddin might as well have ridden up on a white horse. She speaks English, French and Arabic. She has degrees from Oxford and NYU. She’s advised former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. And she’s been listed as one of the 21 hottest barristers in London by this random blog.

So why the hell would she marry George Clooney? Scratch that, why would anyone marry George Clooney?

Don’t get me wrong, Clooney is plenty handsome and likeable. He’s won two Oscars and has been nominated for four others. He raised awareness of the crisis in Darfur, and he’s got a reputation for being one of the last genuinely nice and down-to-earth guys in Hollywood. But marriage material? No, sir.

He’s 16 years Alamuddin’s senior and has a taste for models and cocktail waitresses. He’s proudly commitment-phobic. He’s rich, but then again, so is she. And he’s got some serious baggage: Clooney’s dated everyone from British model Lisa Snowdon to cocktail waitress Sarah Larson to Italian TV presenter Elisabetta Canalis to wrestler turned model Stacey Keibler. He might as well be the village bicycle.

Most importantly, Clooney has said over and over again that he sucks at being married. “I keep saying I’ll never get married again or have children,” he told Express magazine in January, “but people just don’t want to believe me.” That piece was published four months into his seven-month relationship with Alamuddin.

When men insist they’re bad at relationships, it only makes them more attractive to women who are trying to “tame” them. But it’s a mating strategy that makes zero sense. People are usually pretty self-aware about their strengths and weaknesses, and Clooney has a reputation for being a smart and insightful person, so we should take his word for it, and so should Alamuddin. He’s said he sucks at marriage seven different times in different public interviews over the years. Sounds like he sucks at it.

Besides, what normal woman would want to be married to George Clooney? Sure, you could go to Lake Como a lot, but the drawbacks far outweigh the perks. Models would always be smirking at him, reporters would always be asking about the state of your marriage, tabloids would speculate doom every time he goes out alone. You’d probably have to be photographed next to your husband’s best friend’s wife, who happens to be Angelina Jolie. Your husband would wear fancier clothes than you.

So, Amal, you seem like a smart lady and I wish you the best of luck. But I wouldn’t trade places with you in a million years.

 

TIME celebrities

George Clooney Is Engaged

Though Clooney's spokesman has no comment, the law firm of 36-year-old Amal Alamuddin is congratulating the couple on their "happy news"

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Longtime Hollywood bachelor George Clooney is engaged to attorney Amal Alamuddin, according her law firm.

Doughty Street Chambers, a leading human-rights firm, said the 36-year-old U.K. barrister Amal Alamuddin will marry the two-time “Sexiest Man Alive,” the Associated Press reports.

“She brings a bright light to everything she is involved in and I am so delighted at her happy news,” Doughty Street chief executive Robin Jackson said Monday.

A spokesperson for Clooney declined to comment to the AP.

Alamuddin, who was born in Beirut and educated at Oxford University, has previously represented WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange and advised former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan about Syria.

Clooney, 52, was previously married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993.

[AP]

TIME celebrities

Rumors Swirl of George Clooney’s Engagement to Amal Alamuddin

The two-time "Sexiest Man Alive" winner is reportedly off the market.

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Hundreds of thousands of people are about to have their romantic fantasies dashed: actor George Clooney is reportedly engaged to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

Alamuddin was spotted Thursday with an enormous ring on her left ring finger, which sparked rumors of the engagement, People reports.

Clooney and Alamuddin have yet to confirm the news, but if it’s true, the union would be Clooney’s second. Clooney married actress Talia Balsam in 1989; the pair were divorced in 1993.

TIME celebrities

VIDEO: George Clooney’s Hot New Lady Friend’s Resume Is Way More Impressive Than His

This rumored relationship already looks different from the rest

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Any woman who dates George Clooney is subject to scrutiny and judgement — and for the most part, the general sentiment has been that Clooney strategically dates down.

Until now, that is. Clooney has been spotted on numerous occasions with the highly accomplished Amal Alamuddin, who’s rumored to be his new girlfriend. According to Jezebel, he’s now dating out of his league.

Alamuddin was educated at Oxford and NYU, and specializes in international law. She is advising Kofi Annan on the U.N.’s Syria talks, served as the co-editor of a law book from Oxford University Press and previously represented Julian Assange in extradition proceedings.

Looks like Hollywood’s Hottest Bachelor got together with London’s Hottest Barrister—leaving the rest of us extra jealous.

TIME movies

Here’s What the Gravity Trailer Would Look Like If It Were Actually Honest

Spoiler alert, but also LOL alert.

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Just in time for the Oscars, the ever-observant Screen Junkies have brought us a new “Honest Trailer” — this time for Best Picture contender Gravity.

Basically, they pinpoint just about every criticism you probably had while watching the film — or the criticisms you didn’t realize you had until now. For example: Sandra Bullock’s character appears to have had little to no astronaut training, the film is essentially an hour and a half of people bumping into things and trying to grab things, and watching it on anything other than an IMAX screen will be wildly disappointing.

If you haven’t seen Gravity, be warned that this does contain some major spoilers. But it also might convince you not to see Gravity at all, in which case, spoilers are irrelevant.

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