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Actor George Clooney attacked one of Wall Street's most famous hedge fund managers, billionaire Daniel Loeb, accusing him of criticizing Hollywood studios for their business practices, while failing to understand the movie industry himself.
"(Loeb) calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles (big blockbuster movies)," Clooney said in an interview with the Hollywood industry web site, Deadline.com.
Clooney was referring to recent critical comments made by the Third Point hedge fund head slamming Sony Entertainment, saying summer films "bombed spectacularly."
During the interview, which was published on Friday, reporter Mike Fleming Jr asked the Hollywood star about Loeb's recent criticism of Sony Pictures chiefs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal for two under-performing films "After Earth" and "White House Down."
Loeb, whose fund controls 7 percent of Sony stock, is pressing for Sony to spin off its entertainment assets and likened those misfires to historic flops "Waterworld" and "Ishtar."
“I’ve been reading a lot about Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business, and he is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed?
"When does the clock stop and start for him at Sony? Why didn’t he include "Skyfall," the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or "Zero Dark Thirty" or 'Django Unchained?'" Clooney said, referring to recent box-office successes.
"You can’t cherry pick a small time period and point to two films that didn’t do great," he said in the interview from Italy, where Clooney is working on post-production for his latest directing effort, "The Monuments Men."
"It makes me crazy. Fortunately, this business is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets," Clooney said.
The Academy Award-winning actor then launched into an attack on hedge fund managers themselves.
"How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired.
"A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry,” Clooney said.