With his stylish charm and glibness, American actor-director-activist George Clooney, promoting his WWII film Monuments Men about experts trying to save art treasures from the Nazis, has repeated that the stolen Parthenon Marbles housed in the British Museum belong in Greece.
And he took a friendly shot at London Mayor Boris Johnson who likened the actor’s suggestion that bringing the Marbles back to Athens was what Hitler would have done if he had occupied England.
“Someone urgently needs to restore George Clooney’s marbles,” Johnson said.
“Here he is plugging a film about looted Nazi art without realizing that Goring himself had plans to plunder the British Museum. And where were the Nazis going to send the Elgin marbles? To Athens! This Clooney is advocating nothing less than the Hitlerian agenda for London’s cultural treasures. He should stuff the Hollywood script and stick to history.”
Johnson accused the actor of pursuing a “Hitlerian agenda” for what he termed “London’s cultural treasures” as the Nazis had also intended to remove the marbles from the British Museum if they occupied Britain.
Dusting off the mop-topped mayor, who spoke after Clooney and his co-stars gave a news conference in London to push their film, said: “I’m a great fan of the Mayor, and I’m sure my right honorable friend had no real intention of comparing me to Hitler.”
He added: “I’d chalk it up to a little too much hyperbole washed down with a few whiskeys. I’ve found myself in the same spot a time or two so I hold no ill will,” he said of Johnson’s comments in an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph.
“When it comes to real facts, not imagined history, you need only to look at the UNESCO rulings that have been agreed to by all parties. An occupying nation can’t sell off the national heritage of the country it occupies,” added Clooney.
“More relevant is the fact that the Parthenon Marbles were chipped away from the Parthenon by the occupying Turks and sold. It was a single monument broken into bits. It would be as if the statue of David’s head were sold to England. His arm to the Vatican. And his torso to the Met.
“There are many pieces in nearly every country that this conversation should take place. The best place to start would be at the most obvious object. When polled the British people are overwhelmingly in favor of their return.
He went on: “The rest of the world follows suit. If you want to deal in facts. Those are the facts. But maybe it’s just easier to compare me to Hitler.”
Clooney made the initial comment in London while on tour promoting his latest film about a World War II platoon whose mission is to rescue art masterpieces from the Nazis and return them to their rightful owners.