Clooney Slams Loeb Over Sony Critique

Aug 5 2013 | 10:19am ET

George Clooney is no fan of Third Point's Daniel Loeb.

In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, the star launched into an extended attack on the hedge fund manager, who has pushed for a partial spin-off of Sony Corp.'s entertainment unit, which he has called "poorly managed" and "characterized by a complete lack of accountability and poor financial controls." Loeb has criticized Sony's summer releases, After Earth and White House Down, both flops.

Clooney said that Loeb "knows nothing about our business."

"He is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed?" the actor, whose production company works within Sony, asked. "When does the clock stop and start for him at Sony? Why didn't he include Skyfall, the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained?"

"You can't cherry-pick a small time period and point to two films that didn't do great," Clooney continued. "It makes me crazy. Fortunately, this business is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets. How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry."

Clooney said that Loeb is merely "trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to only want to make tent poles."

"What he's doing is scaring studios and pushing them to make decisions from a place of fear," Clooney said. "He’s trying to manipulate the market. I am no apologist for the studios, but these people know what they are doing. If you look at the industry track record, this business has made a lot of money. It creates a lot of jobs and is still one of the largest exporters in the world. To have this guy portraying it that Sony management is the bad stepchild and doesn’t know what it is doing and he’s going to fix it? That is like Walmart saying, let me fix your town, putting in their store, strangling all the small shops and getting everyone who worked in them to work for minimum wage with no health insurance."

"It's crazy he has any weight in this conversation at all," the actor said.

"Hedge fund guys do not create jobs, and we do," Clooney continued. "On the movie we just made, we put 300 people to work every day. I’m talking about nice, regular people, and when we shot in a town, we’d put another 300 people to work. This is an industry that thrives; there are thousands of workers who make films. You want to see what happens if outside forces start to scare the industry and studios just make tent poles out of fear? You will see a lot of crap coming out.”

Loeb did not comment on Clooney's attack on him.


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