George Soros has, over the past two decades, emerged as perhaps the biggest boogeyman in not only right-wing conspiracy circles but also among the right-wing media and Republican politicians, who have increasingly mirrored their most fantasy-minded adherents. They frequently cast the 90-year-old billionaire investor and liberal philanthropist as a “puppet-master” (Glenn Beck’s actual words) sowing chaos behind the scenes—a well-worn anti-Semitic caricature—and credit him (without a shred of evidence, mind you) with bankrolling everything from antifa, the decentralized anti-fascist activist group, to Black Lives Matter protests.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) harbors a strange obsession with Soros, even falsely claiming in 2016 that he was backing John Kasich for president. In August of this year, soon-to-be-former President Trump called in to Fox & Friends and alleged that Soros was funding antifa. And just last week, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich went on Fox News to accuse Soros of somehow stealing the presidential election from Trump.
The new documentary Soros, directed by Jesse Dylan and available Nov. 20, examines the life of the Hungarian-born titan, from escaping the Nazis as a child to accumulating hedge fund riches and creating the grantmaking charity network Open Society Foundations. Soros also features a series of sit-down interviews with the man himself, and in one exchange—that you can see below—he finally breaks his silence on all the wacky conspiracies.
“The fact that I have become involved in so many different issues, and have taken controversial positions, is now actually working against me,” Soros says in the film.
After airing a series of Fox News clips demonizing Soros, the film then sees one of his sons, Robert Soros, chime in.
“He’s become demonized by one community because he’s synonymous with liberal causes,” offers Robert.
According to director Jesse Dylan (How High, son of Bob), these bad-faith depictions of Soros couldn’t be further from the truth.
“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,” Dylan tells The Daily Beast.
He adds, “The George Soros I got to know is the calm at the center of the storm. He is modest, curious, deeply engaged with ideas and the world around him. He is always ahead of the curve, looking to tackle the big problems: whether mass incarceration or the perverse power of social media platforms. And he has a sense of humor, and a genuine optimism that individuals can make a difference even when the world looks grim.”