In the latest development of the row between Hollywood and London over Britain’s right to the Elgin Marbles, George Clooney has refuted suggestions from Westminster that he is ignorant of the UK’s legal right to the sculptures because he is an American.
The “Monuments Men” star responded to this claim at a press conference in London yesterday, 11 February, repeatedly confusing the name of the Parthenon in Athens with that of the Pantheon in Rome.
“Even in England the polling is in favour of returning the marbles from the Pantheon [sic.],” he said, before once again referring to them as the “Pantheon Marbles.”
Co-star Matt Damon then weighed in, saying: “that can’t always be the British default position. I mean seriously, it’s not actually an argument to say we are Americans, we don’t get it.”
“There’s plenty of room back there in Greece,” fellow cast member Bill Murray added, stating that the UK should let “art go back where it came from.”
The argument began at a press conference in Berlin on Saturday, promoting the film, in which Clooney responded to a question from a Greek journalist saying that the marble sculptures, brought to the UK from the Parthenon in Athens in the 19th century by the Earl of Elgin, should be returned to Greece.
Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport committee John Whittingdale then told The Independent that Clooney does not understand the UK’s “legal entitlement” to the sculptures, currently held in the British Museum, in part because “he’s an American.”
— Ashitha Nagesh
(Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)