George Clooney has refused to accept an apology issued Wednesday by a British tabloid that drew his anger with a story about his future mother-in-law and her supposed attitude toward his upcoming marriage to Amal Alamuddin.
"There is one constant when a person or company is caught doing something wrong," the Oscar winner, 53, said in an exclusive statement to USA Today on Friday. "The coverup is always worse."
The story at issue, published earlier this week by the Mail Online, said Baria Alamuddin was "telling 'half of Beirut' that she's against the wedding" for religious reasons, Clooney said Wednesday in a rare personal statement about his personal life. It also joked, he said, about the death of the bride in situations where a member of a Druze family -- which his fiancée is not -- marries outside the faith.
Clooney called the account "at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous."
The Daily Mail, which operates the Mail Online, removed the story from its website -- but not before it had been picked up worldwide -- and said in a statement (via E! News) that it had "accepted Mr. Clooney's assurance" that the story was inaccurate. However, it also said the piece was "not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist" who had based her story on conversations with "senior members of the Lebanese community in the U.K. and the Druze in Beirut."
Clooney wasn't buying the explanation.
"The problem is that none of that is true," he told USA Today. "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. A 'family friend' was the source.
"So either they were lying originally or they're lying now."
The outlet knew the story was false, he said, because it had published a story in April saying Ramzi Alamuddin, his future father-in-law, had himself married outside the Druze faith, which Baria did not share.
Odds are he's not going to take up the Mail on its Wednesday offer to give him "the opportunity to set the record straight," presumably in the Daily Mail or on the Mail Online website.
Clooney seems to be doing just fine setting things straight on his own.