George Clooney on ‘Being a Liberal’

Today, George Clooney is one of the most desirable actors working in Hollywood. The Ocean’s 11 star is well-known for his roles in Gravity, O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, Tomorrowland, Hail, Caesar!, The Midnight Sky (which he also directed), and more. Clooney is a six-time Academy Award nominee and two-time winner for Syriana and Argo. 

George Clooney
AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient George Clooney attends American Film Institute’s 46th Life Achievement Award | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner

In other words, Clooney and Hollywood are intimately connected, and let us not forget that his aunt, Rosemary Clooney, was a famous vocalist who remains renowned for her big band numbers and takes on holiday classics. Thus, when Clooney’s father ran for political office, the opposing team used the Tinseltown badge against him. 

George Clooney talks ‘Hollywood vs. The Heartland’

During a chat with Norman Lear for Interview Magazine, Clooney explained what happened when his father, Nick Clooney, ran for political office a while back. He shared: 

“That’s right. My father just lost an election in Kentucky last year, and all the ads said “Hollywood vs. the Heartland.” Of course, my father grew up and lived his whole life in Kentucky and has very little to do with Hollywood. But that doesn’t matter because that’s the way they could label it.”

Clooney | Interview Magazine

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Clooney went on to explain that the most powerful phrase one can scream in Kentucky is “That guy’s a liberal!” before going on to explain his own political beliefs. 

George Clooney is a liberal 

Clooney told Lear: 

“The greatest thing you can pull out if you want to win is just scream, “That guy’s a liberal!” And I just keep going back to the idea that, yeah, I’m a liberal. I believe in all the qualities of being a liberal.”

Clooney | Interview Magazine

Clooney went on to explain why he identifies as a liberal — recounting history from many years ago and noting the social issues that have played a part in greatly shaping liberalism and conservatism. Clooney said:

“I keep going back to all the great social events in our country’s history, starting with the Salem witch trials, where the conservative view was that they’re witches and should be burned at the stake, and the liberal view was there’s no such thing as witches. Women wanted to vote, and liberals thought that would be okay. Blacks wanted to sit in the front of the bus—we didn’t see anything wronger with that. We thought Vietnam was wrong. We thought Nixon trying to steal an election was a mistake. Over the years, over the history of our country, liberals have stood on many of the right sides of the issues…”

Clooney | Interview Magazine

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George Clooney is a liberal. And though Clooney’s father’s political beliefs are not made clear here, it may not have mattered in the end, for the opposing party was able to use Hollywood against him.