George Clooney has a counter-argument for those who believe celebrities shouldn’t speak out about politics — that President Donald Trump and chief strategist Steve Bannon are also members of the so-called Hollywood elite.
In a recent interview with French news network Canal+ ahead of the Caesar Awards — France’s equivalent of the Oscars, where he’s set to receive an honorary award — Clooney pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump denouncing Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech earlier this year, in which she called out the president for mocking a reporter’s disability back in 2015.
“When Meryl spoke, everyone on that one side was, ‘Well that’s elitist Hollywood speaking,'” Clooney said in the interview. “Donald Trump has 22 acting credits in television… He collects $120,000 a year in his Screen Actors Guild pension fund. He is a Hollywood elitist.”
Prior to running for president, Trump was the host of NBC’s The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice and has made cameos in movies and TV shows including Home Alone 2, Zoolander, and The Nanny. According to a financial disclosure form he submitted during his presidential campaign, Trump has a $110,228 pension from the Screen Actors Guild.
As for Bannon, Clooney continued, “Steve Bannon is a failed film writer and director. That’s the truth, that’s what he’s done. He wrote a Shakespearean rap musical about the L.A. riots that he couldn’t get made. He made a lot of money off of Seinfeld. He’s elitist Hollywood, I mean that’s the reality.”
Clooney, a Hillary Clinton supporter and former costar of Streep’s, says the Oscar-winner has “every right to speak up.”
“She was an American citizen long before she was an icon,” he added.
You can watch more of Clooney’s Canal+ interview in the video above.