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George Clooney can be bought

(Photo: V4 Agency)

By: V4 Agency

Recent press reports suggesting that Italy’s state-owned national broadcaster (RAI) has paid over 150,000 euros to American actor George Clooney to appear on one of its talk shows have provoked a general outcry. Italy’s former interior minister and Lega party chief Matteo Salvini has also expressed his outrage.

It appears that two-time Oscar-winner George Clooney isn’t all that fazed by wasting taxpayers’ money, at least not when he is also involved.

On Sunday, 20 December, George Clooney was the main guest of a popular show on RAI 3, a channel run by Italy’s state-owned television network. RAI is headquartered in Via Mazzini in Rome, but some of its programmes are broadcast from Milan. RAI, Italy’s national public broadcasting company, is owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Mr Clooney appeared in Fabio Fazio’s late-night talk show “Che tempo che fa”.

According to the Italian Il Giornale newspaper, the  coronavirus has had a negative impact on the television industry, leading to a decrease in commercial-based revenues. Although this means that RAI should rely on a more moderate budget, it seems that Italy’s national broadcaster had paid Mr Clooney a whopping €150,000 to appear on Fazio’s talk show. RAI’s supervisory board has ordered an internal investigation.

“We would like to hear from RAI’s managers whether the rumours on George Clooney being paid €150,000 to appear on Fabio Fazio’s show are true,” Federico Mollicone, a politician from the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) party said.

Lega also wants answers regarding the issue. The party’s lawmakers, however, were talking about a sum of €165,000, all covered by taxpayers’ money.

If these rumours are true, we are faced with a serious issue, because the show provided a valuable platform to promote Clooney’s new movie, politicians of the Lega party said, adding that the film debuted on a foreign platform, one of RAI Cinema’s rivals.

“We want to know the whole truth”, Lega’s politicians said.

Italy’s former interior minister and Lega chief Matteo Salvini expressed his views on Twitter.

“I like Clooney as an actor. It would be shameful if these rumours were true, especially now when millions of Italians are in a dire situation”, he wrote.

If the allegations published by Il Giornale are indeed true, they would reveal a Clooney completely unperturbed about receiving public money for appearing on a show, which promotes his movie. Even now, when millions if Italians struggle.

RAI has denied the allegations and issued a statement, saying George Clooney had made a free-of-charge appearance.

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