Other important members of the Orbán government have joined the “Clooney-saga.” Both the Foreign and Justice Ministers felt they needed to react to the Hollywood actor’s critical words regarding PM Viktor Orbán. However, their tone is much softer compared to the first reaction by the government, when they suspected U.S.-Hungarian billionaire George Soros behind Clooney’s words. Justice Minister Judit Varga even invited him for a coffee, a bit ironically though.
The online quarrel 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. Later, in response to the government and the pro-government media accusing him of being Soros’s spokeperson, the actor explained that he would be “ashamed” if he didn’t speak out publicly against the “Orbán regime’s autocracy.”
By now, the government’s stance seems to have softened. According to Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, “as an actor, we like and appreciate George Clooney, who is considered one of the greatest representatives of his profession.” This is, however, a political matter, instead of an “acting” one, he said. “It is apparent that George Clooney’s historical and political knowledge is, how can I say, somewhat limited, and he also appears to get information from the international mainstream media,” Szijjártó speculated.
The Justice Minister also reached out to the Hollywood superstar and addressed him on her Facebook page. “Next time George Clooney visits us, I will be happy to invite him for a cup of real coffee [most likely ironically referring to Clooney’s role as Nespresso’s brand ambassador] and even inform him about the real situation of the Hungarian rule of law – if he is interested in the facts,” Varga wrote. “I promise I will not criticize him publicly regarding the anomalies of the American film industry, as I have about as much information as he does about the political situation in Central Europe. Reality. What else Mr. Clooney?,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, liberal HVG noted that forming a political stance is not something new from Clooney, who since 2004 has regularly taken a stand by the U.S.’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidates, along with voicing his opinion on several political issues.
Featured photo by Gergely Botár/kormany.hu