George Clooney On Innocence of Muslims Makers: Freedom of Speech Means 'The Idiots Get To Have Their Say'

George Clooney on 'Innocence of Muslims'

This idea came to me before I actually saw Argo on Tuesday night, but now that I have seen Ben Affleck's gripping, well-directed film, I can't let it go.  When I learned about the plot of the movie — in which a CIA agent (Affleck), a Hollywood make-up artist (John Goodman) and a movie producer (the wonderful Alan Arkin) — gin up a fake movie to rescue a group of diplomats trapped in Iran during the hostage crisis — it struck me that Argo was the inverse or the flip side of another fake movie that got a lot of press this past summer: Innocence of Muslims.

George Clooney on 'Innocence of Muslims'Argo is about the power of film harnessed for humane reasons — specifically, to extract American diplomats who would have probably faced grisly, public executions had they been caught after slipping out of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran when it was taken over by militants in 1979.

Innocence of Muslims is about the dark side of that equation. It's the power of film — still potent even when the so-called movie is little more than a collection of half-assed scenes cobbled together and thrown on YouTube — misused to incite violence and stoke mistrust and anger between Muslim nations and the United States.  Argo, which is based on a true story, is about saving lives.  Innocence of Muslims was linked to violent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Libya on Sept. 11 that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

When I saw George Clooney, who is one of  Argo's producers, at a private screening and dinner for the film at the Time Warner Center on Tuesday night, I ran my idea by him. Was there any lesson, I asked, to be learned from the controversy and the tragedy that Innocence of Muslims provoked?   I'm not a big fan of asking celebrities their opinions about international or national affairs, but I've come to admire Clooney's political activism and his understanding of the way the world really works, as well as his humanitarian spirit. (In March, he was arrested outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington for protesting the country's blockage of food and aid to its own starving people.)

After listening to my take on Argo and Innocence of Muslims, Clooney suggested that I was making a bit of a leap, but he did answer my question. For one thing, he said, "I'm not quite sure that those diplomats did die as a result of that movie. It seems more like that was a coordinated effort by Al Qaeda" to make a statement on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil.  But getting to the root of my question, Clooney told me: "Freedom of speech means you have to allow idiots to speak, and that’s the unfortunate thing."

"This guy clearly wanted to create problems," he continued referring to Nakoula Basseley, the Egyptian immigrant who appears to have masterminded the making of Innocence of Muslims.  Clooney added that he saw part of the YouTube video:  "It made me mad and I’m not Muslim," he said. "It made me mad for the quality of film that it was, more than anything. But the simple truth is that in order to make [democracy] work, the idiots get to have their say, too. And that’s unfortunate."

I agree. What do you think?  Please let me know in the comments section below.

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Comments

  • Baco Noir says:

    It's clearly unfortunate, but also necessary. I've said many times in my life, I would defend to my death this idiot's right to say/make the movie he made. And I would defend to my death my right to condemn and tear his crappy movie apart (metaphorically, not literally). THAT is democracy.

  • Mark Kelley says:

    The facts of this situation are incredibly disturbing. Today I basically read two different stories : 1.) There was adequate security in Libya. 2.) There WASN'T adequate security in Libya. Then it's : 1.) It was the provocative video; 2.) it was definitely al Quaeda. Independent of what the facts are (which we deserve to know) I thought that the retarded (not mentally) response of the Obama administration was all political cover and intrinsically inhumane - at best. To me their reactions looked like it was all happening underwater, they in complete denial and of what I don't think we know yet or if we ever will. But something is definitely up. That's my opinion.

  • Joe says:

    "It made me mad and I’m not Muslim," he said. "It made me mad for the quality of film that it was, more than anything. But the simple truth is that in order to make [democracy] work, the idiots get to have their say, too. And that’s unfortunate."

    This comment is so strange - there were plenty of people saying that they yelled "fire" in a theatre when they made the trailer/movie and it seems like Clooney is defending free speech. Yet he says that's "unfortunate". Maybe just a poor choice of words.

  • Gary Poling says:

    LOONY CLOONY! AND HIS "MADE IN THE USA SINGING RELATIVE " THAT COULDN'T SING THAT WELL ALSO. PUT BOTH IN THE TRASH CAN...

  • Clooney's objective carity is insightful - yet sadly an ideology that after the ides of march he too must be aware that the threads of the democratic veil have worn so thin the fabric weave of freedom and equity is all but frayed away. Yes we must let idiots have a say in a democratic "free" world. But the real problem is that our current society gives more power and support and attention to the idiots who then may launch their lives in sociophilic glory. The end result is a non democratic world organized by covert networks who use material means and propaganda to continue the facade that the world really does work the way it is promoted to and that all is fair just and democratic if we just vote for the idiot who says so. The proof that all are idiots to keep going along with the game of truth if i market it so and get a group to agree with me is just a big crock of bluster in the name of small gains in self centred power such as wealth sex and recognition - all little child stuff crying for love by finding it in the big wide word through others refecting back. That is the true fabric of todays democracy, truly woven with idiots who cate little to think of their longer term spiritual consciousness and any future for children and environment. Idiots having their say by supressing deeper wisdom so they can live for the short term gains. The sacrifice a world run by humanity who split kin and take sides and compete and destroy in the name of fighting for democratic right to be priveleged. Death to the planet and all species. Idiots indeed

  • RedStateDude says:

    I'd be curious to know if Mr. Clooney would have used the same language ("made me mad"; "idiots get to have their say") about the so-called work of "art" called "Piss Christ" that has made it's way back into the NY art circuit? This is the controversial piece showing a crucifix submerged in a jar filled with the artist's urine.

    • Ahh but that's 'conceptual art darrrrrrling....' - its all in the the ready made league of Marcel Duchamp (who put conceptual art on the map by exhibiting a urinal) and George's summer country residence mate - Italian Piero Manzoni who exhibited cans of 'pooh' his own shit which we all know never stinks according to the songstress Jill Scott. I cannot answer for George and neither can anyone else - truly as what he portrays to the world is about his professional image in a sociopophilic world (ie. focussed at looking or voyeurism) and knowing he has also been a 'fine' artist of sorts (painter) at probably a more spiritual point in his life - he may very well say the idiot must have his say. Not because he either agrees or disagrees with the message. It's just that its blatantly obvious. He doesn't need to wake up one morning and decide to put his bed on art exhibit with a pair of menstrual blood stained knickers - because he doesn't need the attention in that way the pisshead pissing on people's beliefs in Christ does. But he has grown up with a media and public profile so like the queen - he knows a correct procedure to get along in life. This is my assumption anyway. That is probably why so many people do like him. Its because he isn't desperately seeking attention - or at least has given the impression that he isn't. Of course he has to have the super ego that goes with such a career. But history and actions speak louder than words. George Clooney did not publicly seek to become a political supporter or a 'real' UN ambassador to get fame and recognition. Maybe he did inside feeling some sort of schmuck. But only he can answer that in honesty - but he certainly didn't need it. Possibly he just matured into it. Or possibly he just wants to stay popular. Whatever his motives - he has a right to be involved in politics as much as any other person - that is democracy. Actors have has much entitlement as any. We spend so much time and energy giving to people who are in our media - its not surprising they take the lead roles increasingly across all sectors of society. I can see it happening now - top political positions and business positions are also being given to women in the so called name of feminism - but take a look at what is happening - more and more the women are beginning to look like sex icons - in other words the primate model of social organization where the men gather around and support the young daughter primate or the one with social status and connection in the tribe that is still lacto ovulating. We haven't evolved. We've just changed our clothes.

      • oh, and yes I can see how popular that concept will seem to many. people... hot horny page three girls as politicians. Idiots. After you've had your way with them in the airplane toilet, what are you going to do when you land on the tarmac and find out the Earth has been destroyed while you were out worshiping your sex drive instead of using your compassionate sense?

        Grow up humans please - before its too late. Society has become a children's playground and all are pissing in the wind when they talk about being religious etc. - when really they are just behaving badly and without any care for children or anyone else who might inherit our own cans of shit.

        Keep your sex Goddesses for the bedroom and your play for the sports field - killing for when you must take the flesh of another to eat. Its simple and less stressful if everyone gets along and enjoys life instead of envying and abusing and all the things that make humans idiots who think they are something special in this life.

        • sorry a printed correction in response to someone who questioned my literacy. It's due to a current mobility issue and that I cannot edit the post. Was meaning scopophilic and not sociophilic - although the latter also has some relevance in other contexts.

          Point was that people all use religion to justify their own projections of hatred, guilt, anger - whatever - and its that safety in numbers thing. The holy leaders they claim to support would disassociate or deny any alignment with their actions because they are completely against the scriptures of all religions. Only now that scientists have confirmed that humans are truly primate animals - maybe its better not to pretend - when everyone else can see you and the game you are playing. Probably better for all and self to look at why you feel you need to project abuse and anger out into the world - that inner childhood hurt that never healed. Just so that we can keep 'environmental man' - you know the guy that likes to go out into the wilderness and do things in nature. Soon we wont have nature left. And yes beautiful sexy women can also become politicians just as George Clooney can become one. But my point is there is little benefit in a page three girl puppet making decision - it has to be real and valid background. As for environment - no point in having page three girls without a place to enjoy them. Om Gaia - enjoy your lives and your children harmoniously people.

  • Robb714 says:

    Whenever actors open their pie holes regarding politics, I black list them and never again watch their movies. They get paid to act, which gives them a platform, if they want to be political, they should be politicians.

  • 1st amendment is unfortunate. And you agree? Sickening.

    • My interpretation of the word "unfortunate" is that he's saying it's "unfortunate" that a movie as crappy and amateurish as 'Innocence of Muslims' --which was made to provoke -- can lead to such outrage. He's not saying that freedom of speech is unfortunate. Not at all.

  • tamerlane says:

    If Clooney is so concerned about international humanitarian issues, then why does he support a president who murders thousands of innocent civilians with drones?

  • Oldpuppymax says:

    Yep...idiots like Clooney do have to get their say.

  • Deserttrek says:

    haven't been to a movie theater in 26 years and have no plans to. clooney and the rest of the hollywood idiots so value their status but they are the chosen, the little people need to stay in their place. like his idol the evil b hussein obama, clooney is an egotist who cannot see past his own tiny self.

    i seriously doubt he saw any video. he is relying on the media and obama to tell him what to think and do.

  • So now we hear that freedom of speech is "unfortunate". In any society, people enjoy the right to say what they want to as long as it's not heresy. In today's Western world, "hate speech is not free speech". 50 years ago in the USSR,

    Article 50. In accordance with the interests of the people and in order to strengthen and develop the socialist system, citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations.

  • mitch Pawl says:

    Clooney, you are correct and we have to hear you spew your crap.

  • Guitta Dabe says:

    Clooney's buddy Obama threw the guy in prison (not officially for the movie, but who are they kidding?) for using his freedom of speech. I bet Clooney did not say a word about it to Obama when he was helping to raise a truckload of money for him.

  • Jen06 says:

    Did anyone actually ever see this "movie"? All I had heard was a 15 minute trailer showed up on you tube. Last June it had 19 views. Kind of a shame Clooney doesn't seem to support our First Amendment. Why is he willing to allow a bunch of murdering, blood thirsty islamists teling us what we can and cannot do?

    • Actually, his comments show full support of the FIrst Amendment. He's saying that in order to have Freedom of Speech, videos like 'Innocence of Muslims' can't be censored. That's what he means when he says that "the idiots get to have their say."

      • Yep - as he said 'idiots; must have their say.

        This guy above - is a Muslim? Kind of shame he doesn't seem support the teachings of his holy leader. Many confuse the 'honour system' of men with the teachings of the prophets. The former is about being in the boys club and the latter is about a spiritual holy teacher who walked in the name of peace. Christians do it too. Blood thirsty people crying out for vengeance in the name of of a righteous Christ. They also don't respect the teachings of Christ who didn't support killing. If people don't really support or follow or act as their spiritual leaders advised - they are actually defaming and desecrating the spiritual integrity. They really are not what they claim to be. Instead they are using religion as an excuse to be violent and hateful.

  • red is dead... says:

    This is how I feel...
    Freedom of speech does not mean you get to disrespect other religions the way Nakoula did....
    He should be sentenced to death for doing that,and no I dont think muslims are overreacting by protest marching or disliking Nakoula for it....and i totally agree with goerge clooney...and I hate it when people target muslims and call them terrorists,its unfair and disrespectful....

  • Marooned as I am in retirement in Redneck TeaParty hell country, where I moved only for financial survival, I can sympathize with Clooney's comments. They're not interested in building bridges, only in blowing them up. Preferably while loaded with people they consider heretics, which for them damn sure includes liberal Democrats to the left of Kucinich. Heck, they don't even tolerate the worthless blue dogs willingly.

  • Do you still believe Obama when he says the video caused the violence? LOL!

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