George Clooney rarely speaks out about his private life, but when he does, it gets noticed: The Mail Online has apologized and taken down a recent article about his future mother-in-law after the actor slammed the piece as "completely fabricated."
The piece, picked up by outlets worldwide earlier this week, alleged that Baria Alamuddin opposed Clooney's upcoming marriage to her daughter Amal Alamuddin for religious reasons.
In an exclusive statement published by USA Today, the Oscar winner summarized a few key assertions. "It says Amal's mother has been telling 'half of Beirut' that she's against the wedding," the 53-year-old wrote.
"It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride."
Um, hilarious? Not.
Amal Alamuddin, a human rights attorney based in London, was born in Lebanon. Her father comes from a Druze family, according to the Associated Press, but her journalist mother isn't a member of that religion, Clooney said. She also hasn't been to Beirut since her daughter and the actor started dating, he said.
"The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous," said Clooney, who first noted that he regularly ignores tabloids' "idiotic stories" that might be fabricated but are essentially harmless. This one, however, was different.
"We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal."
The Daily Mail tabloid's website answered Clooney on Wednesday. "We accept Mr. Clooney's assurance that the story is inaccurate," it said in a statement via the AP.
Many outlets have since scrubbed those pick-up stories from their websites or updated pieces with Clooney's statement.
The New York Daily News on Tuesday had puzzled over the Mail Online report as it published a shot of Baria Alamuddin appearing to have a grand old time with Nina Clooney, George's mom, during a Sunday shopping trip in Lake Como, Italy. The actor, who famously has a home in Lake Como, proposed to Amal Alamuddin in April.
The Mail Online also said Wednesday that it would be "contacting Mr. Clooney's representatives to discuss giving him the opportunity to set the record straight."
Hmmm. Fishing for an exclusive of its own? Wouldn't bet on that happening any time soon...