Fact Check

Did Clint Eastwood Refuse the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

A rumor that Clint Eastwood was offered — and refused — the Presidential Medal of Freedom was made up out of whole cloth.

Published Nov 23, 2016

Clint Eastwood refused to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

On 22 November 2016, the disreputable web site Departed.co published an article that reported that Clint Eastwood had refused to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

The "article" consisted of a sensational headline ("Clint Eastwood Refuses to Accept Presidential Medal of Freedom From Obama, Says 'He is not my president'") and a screenshot of a message allegedly posted by the actor on Twitter:

clint eastwood tweet

However, the @ClintEastwoodLA Twitter account is not associated with the actor. The bio for this account claims that it is run by "Walt Kowalski," Eastwood's character from the movie Gran Torino:

NOT Clint Eastwood. I'm Walt Kowalski #GranTorino, Callahan #DirtyHarry & Munny in#Unforgiven. I'm the good, the bad, & the ugly. #Fansite. Now #GetOffMyLawn

Furthermore, we found no record of the Tweet here posted to this parody account, indicating that the message fabricated by Departed.co. The parody Clint Eastwood account confirmed that they never posted the above-displayed message:

clint fake

The White House announced the list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 16 November 2016, which did not include Clint Eastwood:

Today, President Barack Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards will be presented at the White House on November 22nd.

President Obama said, "The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor - it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better.  From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."

That's not to say that Eastwood has not received commendations from Barack Obama in the past. In 2010, the president conferred the National Medal of Arts to twelve recipients, including the actor. While Eastwood did not attend the ceremony, he did not reject the award, and is currently listed on the National Endowments of the Arts web site as an award winner.


Julia, Boccagno.   "President Obama Awards 21 recipients with the Presidential Medal of Freedom."     CBS News.   22 November 2016.

Itzkoff, Dave.   "National Medal of Arts Winners Include Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood and Maya Lin."     The New York Times.   25 February 2010.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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