Those in the public eye will often have to deal with inaccurate stories that are published about them. We will often step in to assist when allegations are reported that are false, defamatory or in breach of clients’ privacy. When a newspaper apologises, that’s usually the only public acknowledgement that their journalism was not really up to scratch. More recently, clients have sometimes spoken out through their social media accounts to correct false claims and let their fans or followers hear the truth from the horse’s mouth.
In a rare move that goes beyond a 140 character rebuttal, George Clooney has released a long and very public statement condemning the Daily Mail for what he claims was a “completely fabricated” article about his fiancée, Amal Alamuddin’s mother, who was reported to be concerned about their upcoming marriage for religious reasons. Clooney said that “the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal”.
The MailOnline has since removed the article and published an apology. In a statement to the press, they said that: "The Mail Online story was not a fabrication but supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist. She based her story on conversations with a long-standing contact who has strong connections with senior members of the Lebanese community in the UK and the Druze in Beirut. We only became aware of Mr Clooney's concerns this morning and have launched a full investigation. However, we accept Mr Clooney's assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologise to him, Miss Amal Alamuddin and her mother, Baria, for any distress caused. We have removed the article from our website and will be contacting Mr Clooney's representatives to discuss giving him the opportunity to set the record straight."
The Daily Mail were singled out by Clooney as the publication that “more than any other organization that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up. And when they put my family and my friends in harm's way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence”.
Clooney’s outburst has certainly attracted some attention and may well encourage others to take more of a robust approach to stories they don’t agree with, particularly where an inconspicuous apology might not be proportional to the damage it has caused.
Clooney’s full statement can be viewed here.