George Clooney has said that Hello! magazine “completely fabricated” an interview with him which they billed as “exclusive”.
In a statement issued on Friday, the actor said, “I have not given an interview to Hello Magazine and the quotes attributed to me are not accurate.”
He continued: “In my experience, being misquoted is not unusual but to have an ‘exclusive interview’ completely fabricated is something new. And a very disturbing trend.”
Clooney pointed out that other outlets – he cited Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, The Sun and the Evening Standard – had lifted quotes from the piece and credited the magazine.
The article no longer appears on Hello!’s own website, but its footprint remains on search engines. Billed with the headline “George Clooney reveals wife Amal Clooney’s most attractive feature”, the stand-first suggests that “[i]n an exclusive interview with HELLO!” the actor discloses that he was most “impressed” by his spouse’s intelligence, rather than her sense of style.
A redirect from the article now takes the reader to Hello!’s homepage, which for some time lead with an April Fools Day special about Clooney’s top pranks, and now leads with statement in which the magazine expresses its “dismay” at Clooney’s denial and passes the blame to a third party, Famous, from whom it purchased the piece.
“HELLO! Magazine and the HELLO! Group are very dismayed by Mr George Clooney’s statement that an interview with him that was published by the HELLO! Group is not authentic,” the statement reads.
“The HELLO! Group bought the interview in good faith from a respectable independent agent, Famous, with whom it has dealt for many years and the agency and its writer were both credited at the end of the article in HELLO! Magazine as is customary. Purchase was on the unquestionable understanding that the interview and material were correct and accurate in all respects.”
They concluded by saying that the publication expresses “its deepest respect for both Mr Clooney and his wife, Amal, and its sincere commitment to respectable and accurate journalism”.
Fuller extracts are still running on the digital versions of other publications. The quotes in question appear to concern how Clooney and his wife, a human rights’ lawyer, manage to balance their relationship with heavy workloads.
In 2014, Clooney rejected an apology by the Daily Mail concerning a story about his then-fiancée’s mother. The article claimed that Baria Alamuddin had “told half of Beirut” she opposed her daughter’s wedding on religious grounds. Clooney called the story false and irresponsible and denounced them for fabrication.
The newspaper issued an apology on behalf of its digital division, Mail Online, and removed the article from its website. But their action was rejected by the actor, who called the paper “the worst kind of tabloid”, accused it of a “cover-up” and of telling a “premeditated lie”.
The Guardian has contacted Hello! for further comment.
This article was written by Catherine Shoard, for theguardian.com on Friday 1st April 2016 18.21 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010