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Clooney's Endorsement Dilemma
April 14, 2008

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

George Clooney is one of several celebrities who deserve credit for bringing attention to the horrific situation in Darfur. But it appears as though the actor has a sore spot he’d rather not talk about.

Movie stars make piles of cash as spokespersons for products that are sold overseas. Celebs are comfortable with the arrangement because when they give sales of products outside the U.S. an assist, it doesn’t diminish their mystique with American fans.

Curiously, when the subject of Clooney’s hawking of goods for foreign companies comes up, he dodges the issue like a seasoned pol.

While over in Rome promoting his recent box-office disappointment, “Leatherheads,” Clooney told the entertainment reporters, “If someone tries to sell you clothes or watches that are based on me, don’t buy them.”

Clooney has been paid handsomely to be the spokesperson for the Swiss watch company, Omega. The company has even dubbed the star an “Omega ambassador.”

It just so happens, though, that Omega is one of the major sponsors of the 2008 Olympics, which will take place in China. And the Sudan, the same country that has failed to take action to stop the killing in Darfur, is supported by China.

Clooney may have given us a good idea with his Rome comment after all.

If someone tries to sell us watches that are based on him, let’s not buy them, especially if the timepieces are made by a company whose policies lend a corrupt hand to human rights atrocities.

Antonin Scalia Separates Entertainment and State

Someone who keeps his entertainment-related priorities in perspective, believe it or not, is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Antonin Scalia is a living judicial treasure, an individual who is on the bench of the United States Supreme Court through an act of providence.

Justice Scalia recently turned his formidable rhetorical skills in the direction of those who would like to give courtroom proceedings the Hollywood treatment.

Although Justice Scalia has no problem with the coverage of Supreme Court proceedings on C-SPAN, he is far from ready to accept the idea that TV cameras should be capturing trials in local courthouses.

“To make entertainment out of real people's legal troubles is quite sick,” Scalia said on C-SPAN's “Students and Leaders,” adding, “You want to entertain the public? Hire actors and put on Perry Mason or something.”

In trademark wisdom, he explained, “I don't think it is right to make enjoyment out of litigation, civil or criminal.”

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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