George Clooney has struck back at Boris Johnson, after the wily-haired Mayor of London compared the affable Hollywood heartthrob to one of the evilest men in history.
Johnson's comments came after The Monuments Men star suggested that Britain take proper steps to return the 2500-year-old Elgin Marbles to its original home of Greece.
As part of his column for the Telegraph, the Mayor wrote that Clooney had "lost his marbles" over the Elgin affair, before adding: "And where were the Nazis going to send the Elgin marbles? To Athens! This Clooney is advocating nothing less than the Hitlerian agenda for London's cultural treasures".
And the usually good-humoured Clooney wasn't about the let Johnson's words go unchallenged.
"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 to the Huffington Post UK.
"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.
"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.
"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 favour[sic] 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."
The actor voiced his opinion on the sculptures, which were taken to Britain from the Parthenon in Greece in the 19th century, during a press conference to promote his new film, The Monuments Men.
Set in World War II, the movie, which Clooney has directed, written and stars in, is about a platoon of soldiers on a mission to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.
"Even in England the polling is in favour of returning the marbles from the Pantheon [sic], the Pantheon marbles," he said.
He went on to add that parts of the Parthenon has been given back by the Vatican already, and that returning the pieces displayed at the British Museum was "probably the right thing to do".
- The Independent