George Clooney Accuses Daily Mail Of “Dangerous” Story Fabrication

The actor and director’s scathing opinion piece in USA Today pulls no punches in its criticism of the British news organisation.

1. George Clooney is used to having newspapers and magazines write about him with varying degrees of accuracy. But he’s now saying that enough is enough.

Chris Jackson / Getty

2. Clooney has written an opinion piece for USA Today in which he says that the Mail put his family and friends “in harm’s way” with a report about his fiancée’s mother being unhappy about their upcoming marriage.

3. The report Clooney took exception to was posted on MailOnline on Monday.

It said that Baria Alamuddin wanted her daughter Amal to marry within the Druze Muslim community instead of marrying Clooney.

The article says that “several women have been murdered for disobeying the rules” on marriage, and that one Sunni Muslim man had his penis cut off for marrying a Druze woman. The Mail quotes a “friend” of the family saying, “There have been a few jokes in the family about the same thing happening to George!”

But Clooney says that Amal’s mother is not Druze and is in “no way against the marriage”.

The story, however, has been widely followed up and repeated internationally.

4. Clooney writes:

I want to speak to the irresponsibility of Monday’s Daily Mail report. I seldom respond to tabloids, unless it involves someone else and their safety or wellbeing. The Daily Mail has printed a completely fabricated story about my fiancée’s mother opposing our marriage for religious reasons. 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 – but none of that is the issue

5. Clooney, whose father, Nick, was a TV journalist, says he can take a few negative stories. But he says the Mail has gone too far.

But this lie involves larger issues. The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous. We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal.

6. Clooney concludes that while he “accepts that the idea of freedom of speech can be an inconvenience to my private life…”

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.

They must be so very proud.

7. UPDATE – July 9, 12.40pm: The Mail has issued a statement to say it’s apologised to Clooney and taken the article down. It reads:

The MailOnline story was not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist.

She based her story on conversations with a long standing contact who has strong connections with senior members of the Lebanese community in the UK and the Druze in Beirut.

We only became aware of Mr Clooney’s concerns this morning and have launched a full investigation.

However, we accept Mr Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologise 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.


The Mail has issued an apology for the original article, which has now been taken down.

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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