Neither forgiven nor forgotten. George Clooney spoke out in a USA Today column—his second one this week—to further slam reports that his future mother-in-law Baria Alamuddin opposes his nuptials to fiancee Amal Alamuddin for religious reasons. In an op-ed posted to the newspaper's website just after midnight on Friday, July 11, the Monuments Men actor rejected an apology from the U.K.'s Daily Mail, which published the offending report on Monday, July 7.
"There is one constant when a person or company is caught doing something wrong. The coverup is always worse," Clooney, 53, wrote in his column. "In this case, the Daily Mail has printed an apology for insinuating religious tensions where there are none." (The Mail story in question claimed that Baria Alamuddin had told "half of Beirut" that she opposes the marriage because of her alleged Druze faith; Clooney maintains that she's not Druze and has no objections to the nuptials.)
Indeed, the Mail issued a statement earlier this week about the article, which has since been taken down. "The MailOnline story was not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist," managing editor Charles Garside said. "She based her story on conversations with a long standing contact who has strong connections with senior members of the Lebanese community in the U.K. and the Druze in Beirut."
Clooney's op-ed says "none of that is true," however. "The original story never cites that source, but instead goes out of its way to insist on four different occasions that 'a family friend' spoke directly to the Mail," he wrote. "So either they were lying originally or they're lying now."
"Furthermore, they knew ahead of time that they were lying," he continued. "In an article dated April 28, 2014, reporter Richard Spillett writes in the Mail that 'Ramzi, (Amal's father), married outside the Druze faith,' and a family friend said that 'Baria, (Amal's mom), is not Druze.' The Mail knew the story in question was false and printed it anyway."
"What separates this from all 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," Clooney wrote.
"So I thank the Mail for its apology," he continued. "Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they've exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid. One that makes up its facts to the detriment of its readers and to all the publications that blindly reprint them."
Editors of the Mail, meanwhile, said in their statement that they have launched a full investigation into the origins of the claims in the article. "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," they said. "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."