American actor George Clooney has defended his comments from just over a week ago advocating the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece despite criticism from London Mayor Boris Johnson.
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.
"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,» Clooney said in a statement.
"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,” the actor, who has been promoting his new file “The Monuments’ Men,” said of Johnson’s 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.
"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."