EgyptAir stresses interview with Drew Barrymore in Horus is 'genuine, professional'

Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Oct 2018

Well-known journalist Takla, who conducted the interview, says 'the publications she writes for are allowed to edit the final version of interviews'

Drew Barrymore
A photo of Drew Barrymore with Nisf Al-Donia magazine in August issue (Photo: Nisf Al-Donia)

EgyptAir defended the authenticity of the interview recently published in its in-flight magazine Horus with Hollywood star Drew Barrymore against allegations of "fabrication."

In a tweet on Tuesday night, the national carrier said it was “a professional magazine interview conducted by Dr. Aida Takla, former president of the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) and one of the voting members of the Golden Globes."

The interview with Barrymore has grabbed a notable amount of attention over the past week, with allegations that Horus had "fabricated" the interview.

The attention to the Barrymore interview was generated with a tweet by an American freelance journalist, Adam Baron.

While on an EgyptAir flight, Baron took photographs of the magazine and said in a tweet, which went viral, that "this interview with Drew Barrymore in the Egypt Air in-flight magazine is, umm, surreal."

In response to allegations that the interview was fabricated, Dr. Takla stressed on Twitter that she did conduct the interview with Barrymore and that the interview "took place in New York and is genuine & far from fake."

Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, claimed to have contacted Barrymore's team and that they had stated the actress did not participate in the interview.

However, the actress and her team have not issued any formal statements to deny Barrymore was interviewed by Takla.

Some fans of Barrymore described the interview as "humiliating" to the actress, citing the introduction which described the actress as "unstable in her relationships."

"It is known that Barrymore had almost 17 relationships, engagements and marriages; psychologists believe that her behaviour is only natural since she lacked the male role model in her life after her parents' divorce," the interview read.

The interview also quoted Barrymore, 43, on other personal matters as saying she was pleased with her recent weight loss after having a second daughter.

Barrymore celebrated in the interview women's achievements in the west, stating “women in the west ... will not be satisfied unless they gain the rights they deserve to the society. This is especially true since women exert tremendous efforts that men are incapable of exerting due to their numerous commitments and obligations.”

An Arabic version of the interview with Barrymore by Takla was originally published in state-owned weekly women's magazine Nisf Al-Donia on 20 August 2018. 

Amal Fawzy, the editor in Chief of Nisf Al Donia, which is published by Al-Ahram, issued a statement on her Facebook account on Wednesday saying that the interview was genuine and that she spoke with Aida Takla and Drew Barrymore's manager in a long telephone call.

"Dr. Aida used to send us interviews with famous and international renowned celebs of 10 to 15 pages, according to the interview done with members of HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association), and sometimes the celebs were photographed for an issue of Nisf Al-Donia or Egypt Air's Horus or both."

Fawzy added that the magazines usually summarize and shorten long interviews, and what was required for Horus magazine was only a five-question interview due to space constraints.

She added that "the translator merged the questions and answers, and were not translated literally. In addition, the translator was also the one who made the interview lead and introduction as Dr. Adia Takla left for us the freedom to choose the lead and introduction."

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Takla stressed that she "has been a correspondent for many publications for decades, and that the publications she writes for are allowed "to edit the final version of the interviews."

Takla explained "As far as Drew, we interviewed her several times, I saw her grow up before my eyes she is charming and talented."

In a tweet, EgyptAir thanked Dr. Takla for her clarifications.

"I told him the translator's view and that she said she only summarized the interview." Fawzy said, adding that that she had talked with officials in HFPA "who stressed the importance to be committed to the literal translation of interviews in the future."

Chris Miller, the president of Flower Films and Barrymore Brands explained to BuzzFeed: "The writer did write the Q&A portion of the interview based on what she says she heard Drew say at one of these [HFPA] press conferences, but she says she did not write the intro."

Miller continued: "the writer is saying someone at the magazine wrote the intro that comes after the journalists name so it seems as though it was written by her but in fact wasn’t. So technically Drew did not sit down with EgyptAir for an interview, but a journalist who is a member of the HPFA that sometimes supplies articles to EgyptAir."

According to Fawzy, Drew Barrymore's manager did not deny that she had done the interview, but he objected to the introduction and the lack of accuracy with the translation.

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