In the wake of a recent verbal quarrel between George Clooney and the Hungarian government, the Hollywood actor issued a detailed statement arguing that the pro-Fidesz media lies about him, while State secretary Tamás Menczer reacted this time from the government’s side.
The verbal skirmish broke out when the superstar, speaking about his new movie (The Midnight Sky), noted that its mood was determined by how much anger and hatred can be experienced around the world, specifically mentioning and blaming, for example, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The government and pro-gov’t tabloid Origo dug up a photo showing Soros’ son, Alexander, with Clooney, and together with other outlets, accused him of speaking from George Soros’ playbook. Meanwhile, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch called Clooney an “imposter” who speaks “rubbish.”
Clooney reacted in a longer statement, published first on government-critical independent Telex. He denies having any contact with the Hungarian-born billionaire, and insists that “Orbán’s propaganda machine is lying.”
He explains that he had met Soros through his agent once in his life at a UN meeting on the refugee crisis and bumped into his son at an event in Davos. “That’s all the communication I have had with him,” he wrote.
Clooney then defended Soros’ philanthropic work and hasn’t forgotten about Viktor Orbán’s Oxford studies and Fidesz’ (a liberal party at that time) initial steps, both significantly supported by Soros back around the regime change. “He not only provides support to the poor and refugees, but also supported Orbán with a scholarship during the regime change, and the government also accepted support from him in the good old days when Orbán opposed communism,” he said.
“As to my [recent] remarks, I would be ashamed if I didn’t speak out publicly against
this kind of authoritarianism in which the Orbán regime controls the media, puts companies under draconian tax rules, silences free press, demonizes the disenfranchised, and flirts with the far-right,”
Clooney explained. He also stated his love for Hungary, which he has visited multiple times, for example, when Hungary served as an example of the democratic transition after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “I’m looking forward to the day when Hungary finds again what it once was,” the star concluded.
State secretary: Clooney should come over for coffee
On behalf of the government, State Secretary Tamás Menczer was the latest to speak, although he was interviewed by pro-Fidesz HírTV before Clooney’s statement came out.
“George Clooney probably won’t choke on his coffee because of my opinion, but it’s still stupidity,”
he said. “Although I don’t think that Viktor Orbán will have sleepless nights either because George Clooney talks nonsense about him.”
He also said he would advise against anybody considering George Clooney to be an “oracle in world politics,” while also doubting that he would know the exact whereabouts of Hungary. “With all due respect, I’m not sure that if I asked him on any given day he would know exactly where Budapest and Hungary are and what is needed to be known about us.”
He then concluded by recommending Clooney to come to Budapest with his “dear wife, have a good coffee and then he will see what a good place Hungary is.”
featured image via MTI/EPA/COMPIC/Kimmo Brandt