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George Clooney thinks Britain should return Parthenon Sculptures

The book & now the film of Monuments Men have been covered a number of times [1] already on this website.

Now that the film is out in the cinemas, others have also made the connection between the stories it describes & that of the Parthenon Sculptures.

At a recent press conference, George Clooney was asked by a journalist about whether he thought that Britain should return Greek artefacts (a clear reference to the Parthenon Sculptures). He stated that he felt that Greece had a very good case to make, and that is would be a very fair thing to happen if they were returned.

George Clooney, Star of Monuments Men [2]

George Clooney, Star of Monuments Men

In response to this, the the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale, suggested that Clooney didn’t know what he was talking about & that “There’s a very strong view in this country that they should stay in the UK”. Clearly, he has not seen the results of the previous polls organised by the BCRPM & Marbles Reunited a few years ago, which indicated an overwhelming level of support [3] amongst people who were well informed about the issue.

You can see a video of the actual question here:

Independent [4]

George Clooney believes Britain should lose its Marbles
Ian Johnston
Sunday 09 February 2014

Hollywood actor George Clooney has called for the UK to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, saying it is “the right thing to do”.

Clooney was speaking at the Berlin Film Festival yesterday during a press conference for his film The Monuments Men, which tells the story of a team sent by the Allies to try to save artefacts from being stolen by the Nazis.

Some claim the Earl of Elgin took the sculptures from the Parthenon’s frieze in the early 19th century without the proper authority. When asked by a Greek journalist whether Greece should reclaim its historic monuments from the UK, Clooney said: “I think you have a very good case to make about your artefacts. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were returned. I think that is a good idea. I think that would be a very fair and very nice thing. Yeah, I think it is the right thing to do.”

John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, politely suggested the actor might not really know what he was talking about. “I’m a great admirer of George Clooney, but I suspect that he probably doesn’t know the history of the Elgin Marbles and the legal entitlement that Britain has to them,” he said. “He’s an American. I suspect he doesn’t know why it is that Britain came to acquire the Elgin Marbles. There’s a very strong view in this country that they should stay in the UK.”

A British Museum spokeswoman said that “anybody is entitled to their view” but the museum’s trustees had “always been very clear that they feel there’s a public benefit to having the sculptures in our collection remain part of our collection”.

Maria Pullinger Koutsikou, campaign manager for Marbles Reunited, said: “It is always a positive thing when public figures speak in favour of reunification of the Parthenon Marbles as it helps raise awareness.” Pro-return campaigner Anthony Snodgrass, emeritus professor of classical archaeology at Cambridge University, said Clooney was “somebody who has got no axe to grind”.