Inflight magazines can be a godsend on long-haul journeys. When stuck on a plane for several hours, it doesn’t hurt to have some quality reading material. Most major airlines include them for free on their flights. And often many of these magazines include great tips for the passenger’s destination.
Indeed, many of these publications feature articles from prestigious journalists and interviews with A-list celebrities. From cooking to fashion tips, readers can usually find a subject matter of their taste while flying above the clouds.
However, during a flight to Cairo with EgyptAir in October 2018, political analyst Adam Baron found himself very confused by the quality of an interview with actress Drew Barrymore. The interview featured in the airline’s magazine Horus. But many elements of the feature appeared to be slightly baffling.
Barrymore has been in the public eye ever since appearing in E.T as a six-year-old. She has starred in several successful films including Never Been Kissed and The Wedding Singer. She has also picked up a Golden Globe for her performance in television series Grey Gardens. However, she received the wrong type of attention after the publication of an interview conducted with Horus.
Baron was so bewildered by the interview that he took photos of all three magazine pages it featured on. He tweeted his confusion, describing the interview as “surreal.” And it turned out many people appeared to share the sentiment.
The first paragraph of the article’s introduction immediately raises eyebrows. It describes Barrymore as “unstable in her relationships.” It then goes on to suggest that she has “decided to temporary [sic] take an unlimited vacation to play her most crucial role as a mother.” Digging deeper into her romantic history, it says she’s had “almost 17” relationships. And it adds that she has been “subconsciously seeking care and attention from a male figure” ever since her parents divorced.
The Horus interview is oddly worded in places too. When asked about the status of women in society, Barrymore has an odd response. “I cannot deny that women made a great achievement over past century [sic], there is significant progress recorded by people who study women status [sic] throughout history.”
Barrymore also suggests that she would only resume her acting career when her children can fully depend on themselves. Responding to a question about her parenting methods, she is bizarrely quoted as saying, “I do not intentionally follow certain parenting methods with my daughters and I do not consult with psychologists […]. I focus on nurturing their minds as well as their small bodies.”
Baron’s photos of Barrymore’s Horus interview have been shared nearly 2,500 times at the time of writing. His tweet led to many international news organizations to investigate how the article made it into the publication. The Huffington Post, for example, described the interview as “very fake” and many of Barrymore’s responses as “flat-out bonkers.”
Meanwhile, journalists and the public at large echoed the news organization’s sentiments. Alexander Smith, a reporter at NBC News, was shocked. “Aside from all the other weirdness, the syntax of her answers makes it sound like they were not initially spoken by a human.” Another user chipped in, “The Onion should give this author an interview.”
Many questions were being asked about the legitimacy of the article. Had Barrymore really uttered these words? Then a response came from EgyptAir’s Twitter account. It read, “Dear sir, this a professional magazine interview conducted by Dr. Aida Takla O’Reilly, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and one of the voting members of the Golden Globes.”
Meanwhile, Takla O’Reilly herself took to Twitter to respond to the accusations. She pointed out that “publications are authorized to edit the final version of the interviews, according to adjustments required by the magazines in regards to size of the article without altering the core of the content.” She added, “This doesn’t negate the fact that the interview with Barrimoor [sic] which took place in New York is genuine and far from fake.”
Barrymore’s representatives then chimed in, explaining to metro.co.uk that Takla O’Reilly had attended a press conference and a number of luncheons where the actress had been. They confirmed that the Q&A portion had been written by the journalist and had been based on what she alleges Barrymore had said at the conferences. And they added that the actress had indeed spoken to Takla O’Reilly, but not for a feature for the magazine.
Horus’ publishers, Ahram Advertising Agency, then claimed that the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes were due to translation issues. The interview was allegedly conducted in English, translated into Arabic by Takla O’Reilly, then translated back into English by magazine staff. It said, “We apologize for any misunderstanding that might be interpreted as an offence to the great artist.”
Ahram Advertising Agency also confirmed that Takla O’Reilly didn’t write the introduction to the feature. “As is generally accepted, the lead is not part of the text of the article. It is a product of the editor’s creativity produced on the condition that it contains no information that is contrary to the truth.” It added, “We are about to investigate this by checking thoroughly the source material that the translator depended on to write the interview.”
Meanwhile, actress Barrymore hasn’t yet commented on any aspects of the interview. A number of Twitter users have speculated that she may have been very upset by the wording of the article. One argued that Barrymore may want to “fight the author” following the “disrespectful” portrayal of her personal life.
The comments on Barrymore’s “unlimited vacation” are likely to confuse anyone paying attention to her career. She has been working as an executive producer and starring in online TV series Santa Clarita Diet. Furthermore, the actress has also helped produce other upcoming shows including Blooms and The Black Rose Anthology.
Therefore, Barrymore’s fans can rest easy. Viewers can expect to see either the actress herself onscreen, or the fruits of her labor as a producer on the several shows she is involved in.
Following the controversy, the issue of Horus magazine featuring Barrymore’s interview was pulled. Ahram Advertising Agency agreed to stop printing copies. It also removed all existing ones from EgyptAir flights.
The incident is likely to have caused serious embarrassment for all involved. Though it appears there will be no lasting ramifications for the magazine or the publisher. Perhaps soon, Barrymore will reveal how she actually feels about the topics discussed in this bizarre article.