Oscar winner George Clooney may make politically provocative films like "Syriana." But he doesn’t write politically provocative blogs.
So imagine his ire when Arianna Huffington used some of his recent answers to political questions in a way that makes it look as if he wrote one for her Huffington Post blog site.
"He doesn’t object to the quotes," says Stan Rosenfield, Clooney’s rep. "He said those things and those are his views. Arianna asked for permission to use the quotes and he gave it to her. What he didn’t give permission for was the use of his quotes without source attributions to make it appear that he wrote a blog for her site. Which he did not. When he saw the posting Monday, we called and asked her to make the change, to simply attribute the quotes and make it clear that he did not write a blog. But she refused. And it’s now Wednesday."
Rather than keep waiting, Clooney got proactive and issued this statement:
"Miss Huffington’s blog is purposefully misleading and I have asked her to clarify the facts. I stand by my statements but I did not write this blog. With my permission Miss Huffington compiled it from interviews with Larry King and The Guardian. What she most certainly did not get my permission to do is to combine only my answers in a blog that misleads the reader into thinking that I wrote this piece. These are not my writings — they are answers to questions and there is a huge difference."
In the pulled-from-interviews quotes, Clooney criticizes the Democrats’ failure to speak out about the Iraq invasion for fear of being criticized for being unpatriotic.
And the "Good Night, and Good Luck" writer-director-star also invokes Edward R. Murrow: “When you hear Murrow say, ‘We mustn’t confuse dissent with disloyalty’ … it’s like he’s commenting on today’s headlines.”
Or today’s blogs.
UPDATE: George is wrong, sez Arianna, and here’s her side of the story just emailed to “The Envelope” via publicist Ken Sunshine’s office.
“When I first invited George Clooney to blog after a screening of “Good Night, and Good Luck” in New York a few months ago, he said he wasn’t sure how a blog worked. So we put together a sample blog from answers he had given on ‘Larry King Live’ and an interview with the Guardian in London, and sent it to him to rework in any way he wanted.
“A publicist working with George on the promotion of ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ emailed back saying, “I will get it to him and get back to you as soon as I hear anything.” Three days later, she emailed again, approving, without any changes, what we had sent: ‘Of course this is fine, Arianna!’
“And once we had the approval, that’s what we ran: George Clooney’s words put into blog form.”
According to Shawn Sachs at Ken Sunshine’s office, Clooney’s camp asked her to issue a statement saying she lied and misled Clooney, which she refused to do. “They also asked us to take down the blog which we did.”
Then why is it still up?
“It is?” asked Sachs.
Yup. Just click on the Huffington Post link in the item.
“Oh, you’re right. Here it is. I’ll call you back.”
UPDATE No. 2:
: Arianna Huffington has posted a full response on her blog, calling it an “honest misunderstanding.” You can read her full statement here.
UPDATE No. 3– 11:34 AM PST: Ken Sunshine’s office has emailed The Envelope to say that the Clooney blog is being removed from Huffington Post.
But Arianna’s defense does not impress Clooney rep Stan Rosenfield much: “I read (Arianna’s) response. This wasn’t a misunderstanding. It was misrepresentation.”
Clooney’s camp insists they did not ask HuffPo to take down the item or to release a statement about lying and misrepresentation. They say they only asked for a posted qualifier explaining that the item was not written by Clooney but was a compilation of quotes from past interviews with Larry King and The Guardian.
Photo: No, George Clooney is not carrying a box of his political blogs. Because he doesn’t write them and don’t ask him to! He’s actually filming his new movie "Michael Clayton" in New York.
(RJ Capak / WireImage.)