(NEW YORK) — George Clooney is strongly denying a report from Britain’s Daily Mail alleging the mother of his fiancée, Amal Alamuddin, does not approve of their engagement.
The Daily Mail claims Alamuddin’s mother, Baria Alamuddin, is a member of the Druze religious sect, and prefers that the British-Lebanese human rights lawyer marry someone who holds the same religious beliefs.
A “Lebanese friend of the family in London” is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that Baria Alamuddin believes “Amal can do better. She has been telling half of Beirut, in fact anyone that will listen, there are five hundred thousand Druze. Are none of them good enough for her?”
The newspaper states there have been members of the Druze sect who have been killed for marrying outside their religion. Its insider says, “There have been a few jokes in the family about the same thing happening to George!”
In a strongly-worded response posted on USAToday.com, Clooney calls the Daily Mail story irresponsible and “completely fabricated.” He says Alamuddin’s mother is not a member of the Druze sect and is not opposed to their engagement.
The Oscar winner accuses the Daily Mail of making up stories on a frequent basis: “If they fabricate stories of Amal being pregnant, or that the marriage will take place on the set of Downton Abbey, or that I’m running for office, or any number of idiotic stories that they sit at their computers and invent, I don’t care.”
Clooney continues, “But this lie involves larger issues. The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous. 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.”
Noting that other media outlets picked up on the Daily Mail story, Clooney adds, “[W]hen 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. They must be so very proud.”
Clooney’s statement comes amid word that the couple’s mothers were seen shopping this past Sunday around Lake Como in Italy, where the actor has a villa.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Megan Marsden Christensen, KSL.com
Brian Stelter, CNN
Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com