George Clooney’s response to the Orbán Government’s media attacks

By now you have all heard about Hungary’s recent attacks on American film star George Clooney.  Just as Clooney suspected, tightly controlled Hungarian media did not print his full response and we thought that it would be important to publish the full text.

Just a brief background.  In November GQ Magazine interviewed Clooney who spoke about his movie The Midnight Sky and mentioned that the somber mood of the film is a reflection of anger and hatred that can be experienced around the world. “We weren’t in the middle of a pandemic when it happened, but there were still all these other elements, these elements of how much hate and anger all of us are experiencing at this moment in our history, all over the world. Go to Bolsonaro in Brazil, or Orbán in Hungary, or look around, lots of anger and hate…,”

Photo: Facebook Fan Site.

Within minutes the Orbán Government responded with a ferocious media attack. Pro-government outlets claimed that Clooney was a friend of George Soros and circulated a photo showing Soros’ son Alexander with the actor.  Mr. Örs Farkas from the government information center said that “It is quite disappointing that there are actors, even non-political actors, who carry out   Soros’ political intentions.”   Fidesz MEP and Orbán confidante Mr. Tamás Deutsch said that Clooney is an “imposter” who speaks “rubbish” about Hungary he couldn’t even find on the map not even by using Google Earth.  One of the most bizarre attacks came from Frank Furedi, a British academic who accused Clooney of “cultural imperialism.” (Read Furedi’s article in Hungarian here)

Here is George Clooney’s response:

“I don’t expect this response to be broadcast in most of Hungary’s news sites because they are owned and run by the Orbán regime or his close allies but it will be heard. I met George Soros once at a UN meeting with the President of the United States on the subject of the refugee crisis. I met his son Alex once at an event in Davos. That is the extent of my communication with George Soros. So the Orbán propaganda machine is lying, full stop. Having said that, the Soros family have funded education and legal aid to the poor and asylum seekers, they have been an overwhelming force for good in the world. Mr. Orbán felt that same way in 1989 as he was funded by Mr. Soros to be educated in Britain. His government also took a million dollars from Mr. Soros back in the good old days when Viktor Orbán was standing against Communism. As for my comments, I would be ashamed if I were not on record for speaking out against the kind of authoritarianism where the Orbán regime owns all the media, forces all the companies to comply by draconian taxation policies, silences the free press, requiring permits to photograph their razor wire fences, demonizes the disenfranchised, and winks at far right extremists. It’s as if 1956 never happened, when the world was flooded by Hungarian refugees fleeing Soviet rule. I have a great affection for the people of Hungary. I was there first in the early 1980’s when it was still part of the Soviet Union. I was back in the early 2000’s and walked the boardwalk of the Danube. At that point Hungary was a shining example of democratic success coming after the fall of the Soviet Union. I look forward to the day that Hungary embraces what it once was.”

(Special thanks to the portal for providing the text)

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