George Soros has made a rare acknowledgement of a slew of right-wing conspiracy theories that have falsely linked him to numerous causes including Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
The 90-year-old financier has long been seen by the right wing as a bogeyman lurking behind almost every controversial issue in US politics – from gun control to migration – and is frequently accused of pulling political strings behind the scenes.
In a new documentary titled Soros, the billionaire breaks his silence, speaking frankly about his life and activism in a series of interviews.
‘The fact that I have become involved in so many different issues, and have taken controversial positions, is now actually working against me,’ he tells director Jesse Dylan, son of music icon Bob Dylan.
But the vilification doesn’t seem to bother Soros, who adds: ‘I’m happy that I irritate some people.’
Billionaire financier George Soros, 90, has made a rare acknowledgement of innumerable right-wing conspiracy theories surrounding him in a new documentary [File photo]
That Soros has ‘taken controversial positions’ is irrefutable. The man is known around the world as a crusader for liberal causes including more open migration policies and drug policy reform.
He has also backed the independence of several separatist states and played a key role in funding a number of countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union.
However in recent years he has found himself at the centre of innumerable right-wing conspiracy theories that falsely suggest he has put up funds for movements including Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives, which was formed by students in the aftermath of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Soros has also been accused of funding and organising a caravan of Central American migrants who travelled to the US in 2017-18.
That there is no evidence of Soros donating to any of these causes does nothing to slow the spread of rumours regarding what he puts his money behind.
In the new documentary, one of his sons, Robert, says his father has been ‘demonized’ because he is ‘synonymous with liberal causes,’ the Daily Beast reported.
Dylan, the director similarly rubbishes the claims, telling the Daily Beast: ‘The work and people whom George supports strikes at the interests of authoritarians and others who unfairly control freedom and access – whether to employment, education, a way to make a living. These are the forces attacking him’
He added that Soros was ‘always ahead of the curb’ on complex issues including mass incarceration and the influence of social media platforms.
A 2017 campaign by the Hungarian government portrayed Soros next to the message ‘Don’t let Soros have the last laugh’. The posters falsely suggested that Soros wanted to weaken Hungary’s borders through migration [File photo]
Soros has donated to Democratic presidential candidates including Joe Biden (pictured), Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama [File photo]
Many of the conspiracies theories involving Soros that have crept from obscure Twitter posts into the mouths of politicians and other officials in recent years are anti-Semitic in nature.
Jewish-born Soros escaped Nazi persecution as a child in Hungary by changing his name assuming another identity but fled when Communist rule was imposed.
He studied in London before beginning a career in banking in the UK and US and went on to amass billions through hedge funds and founded Open Society Foundations – a charity to which he has donated more than $32billion.
Critics say Soros uses the charity to exert power and influence internationally.
He said his philanthropic efforts with Open Society are intended to build flourishing democracies but admits in the film that his wealth gives him ‘a degree of power’.
The financial titan’s political bent sets him apart from many billionaire donors, CNN reported.
He has given money to the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton but his support for political causes stretches beyond the US.
Soros is set apart from other billionaire financiers in his political commitment to promoting democracy which has seen him accused of meddling in the affairs of states. Pictured: Soros at a press conference in London on Oxfam aid to Bosnia [File photo]
Outside the US, Soros has backed political issues Remain in the UK’s Brexit debate. Pictured: Pro-EU supporters at a rally in 2019 [File photo]
Soros arrives to deliver a speech on the sideline of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland in 2019 [File photo]
A fierce Brexit critic, Soros gave £800,00 ($1,060,396) to the pro-remain group Best for Britain, according to the BBC.
His reputation as a ruthless financier is infamous in the UK where he is known as ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank of England’ having made almost $1billion by short-selling the UK currency during the 1992 Black Wednesday crisis.
The government lost more than $5billion as a result but Soros claims his role in the fray has been overstated.
In the 1980s, he played a hand in toppling Hungary’s Communist regime through funding scholarships for dissidents and establishing a pro-democracy charitable foundation in the country.
He has become a target in his native Hungary over his support for refugees in Europe, with the right-wing government of Viktor Orban launching a crude poster campaign against Soros in 2019, accusing the financier of working with then-EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker to weaken the country’s borders by allow more migrants and refugees in.
Juncker slammed the campaign as ‘lies’ and said Orban’s Fidesz party did not belong in Hungary’s centre-right EEP coalition. The party was suspended in February 2020.
Orban’s government had run a similar anti-Soros campaign in 2017.
In 2018, a pipe bomb was placed in the mailbox of Soros’ New York home as part of an attempting mail bombing campaign that also targeted Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and other Democrats.
The package for Soros was noticed by a caretaker who removed it and notified authorities. Cesar Sayoc was arrested for the attempted bombings and sentenced to 20 years in prison.