George Clooney has fired some barbs back at Boris Johnson, after the Mayor's suggestion that the Hollywood star had lost his (Elgin) Marbles over the possible return of the 2,500-year-old sculptures to Greece.
Johnson had compared The Monuments Men star to Adolf Hitler in his column for the Telegraph, something the generally good-humoured Clooney took some exception to.
”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 told HuffPost UK in a statement.
"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."
But Clooney continued: "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 favor 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."
Johnson weighed in from the other side, telling the Telegraph: “Someone urgently needs to restore George Clooney’s marbles.
"Here he is plugging a film about looted Nazi art without realising that Goring himself had plans to plunder the British Museum.
“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. He should stuff the Hollywood script and stick to history.”
The row had begun when the star was asked about the sculptures, taken to Britain from the Parthenon in the 19th century, during a London press conference to promote his new film.