Tom Cruise is a religious extremist and The Sun is swallowing Scientology’s spin

He and his Church think the audio of him shouting about Covid is a good look. So do people not paying attention. In fact, it reveals the anger behind the Boy Scout act.

The Sun has a big exclusive today — one that’s being ridden hard by every rewrite hack in the business — revealing that Tom Cruise went mission impossibly over the top with crew members working on the new Mission Impossible movie, currently filming at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire.

It’s a big story because the newspaper has the audio of Cruise’s “extraordinary swearing” (that’s how The Sun describes it). The audio means that the scoop will get a lot of traction on TV and radio today as producers will not be able to resist such a tasty hook for discussion. It also echoes Christian Bale’s notorious 2009 “Are you professional?!” rant on the set of Terminator: Salvation, which was also leaked.

But Bale — who quickly apologised for his outburst — is a very different character to Tom Cruise. Yes, the British actor has a streak of darkness running through him like the message in a stick of Brighton rock, but Cruise? He’s a religious extremist whose commitment to Scientology is far greater than his obsession with any movie project.

There are some very interesting phrases in The Sun’s story, which despite its obvious framing of the Cruise rant as ‘a bit much’, suggest heavy massaging by the star’s PR people. Here’s paragraph 2 of the piece:

The Hollywood megastar has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to enforce tight social-distancing rules during the filming, taking place in Britain.

The line continues further down the page:

Cruise, 58, was furious all his efforts to keep filming going during the pandemic could be at risk.

Then there is the inevitable quote from ‘a source’ — a source who sounds an awful lot like a paid flack for the filmstar — who offers up a glowing perspective on Cruise’s screaming fit:

A source said: “Tom has taken it upon himself, along with the health and safety department, to try to force the safety precautions, with a view to keeping the film running.

“He does daily rounds to make sure that everything is set up appropriately, that people are behaving and working as safely as they can. He is very proactive when it comes to safety.”

Further details from the article focus closely on how ‘diligent’ Cruise is rather than the fact that he is on tape verbally abusing staff:

… Cruise has personally tried to ensure there are no more delays.

He has been pictured wearing a mask on set and keeps a ­constant eye out for rule-breakers.

He even personally paid £500,000 for an old cruise ship for the cast and crew to isolate on.

Tom Cruise the actor is also Tom Cruise the activist for Scientology, the tax-exempt ‘church’ which pursues its critics with unstoppable venom (a process it calls “Fair Gaming”). In a 2012 Vanity Fair article — which is larded with legal denials from the Church of Scientology — Marc Headley, a former Scientologist who worked for the Scientology’s in-house studio, described just how central Cruise is to the plans of Scientology leader David Miscavige:

“Dave told us in a meeting that it if he could make Tom Cruise inspector general — second-in-command, that if he weren’t Tom Cruise the actor he would be the number two.”

Of course, Scientology describes Headley as a “disgraced former staff member” and has dedicated itself to stuffing his Google search results with articles and even entire websites dedicated to trashing him. Nobody criticises Cruise and gets away with it.

Cruise joined Scientology in 1986 — the same year he became a superstar off the back of his starring role in Top Gun — and claims its methods helped him overcome dyslexia. While Scientology has many actors in its ranks, Cruise is the most famous and the most valued.

In 1995, a French parliamentary report listed Scientology as a cult. Since then, it’s been monitored closely by MIVILUDES — a government organisation whose name translates into English as “Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Combat against Sectarian Aberrations” — which studies ‘secular movements’ aka cults. In a 2006 report, MIVILUDES reiterated the view that Scientology is a dangerous cult.

Scientology officials in France have been convicted of crimes including embezzlement and contributing to suicide, and the ‘Church’ itself has been convicted of fraud.

Why am I bringing up the French cases? Because Cruise was involved in lobbying in French politicians in an attempt to get the ‘cult’ label lifted and to secure Scientology’s designation as a church in France — with the tax benefits and social clout that come along with that. In 2005, a meeting at Paris City Hall was assured by representatives of the Mayor that Tom Cruise will never become an honorary citizen of the city. Concerns had been raised about the actor’s efforts to lobby Nicholas Sarkozy — then Minister of the Economy — and the mayor of Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin, who awarded him that city’s medal of honour. That Mayor’s Deputy, Anne Hildago, said Cruise had “used his notoriety as a weapon to go places in the Republic.”

The French politicians’ view that Cruise is “a militant spokesman for Scientology” is supported by the famous video of him speaking at one of the organisation’s galas, which was leaked in 2008. Cruise and the Church fought vigorously to have the clip removed from YouTube. They failed. It features him claiming that Scientologists passing car accidents “know [they’re] the only one that can really help” and are the world authority on getting addicts off drugs, while the theme music of Mission Impossible plays in the background. It is a disturbing watch but will help you understand where his screaming fit comes from.

In 2004, the same year he was awarded a medal created specifically for him by David Miscavige — the Freedom Medal of Valor, Cruise parroted Scientology dogma:

“I think psychiatry should be outlawed.”

He followed up in 2005 by publicly criticising Brooke Shields for taking an anti-depressant that she said had helped her recover from postpartum depression. Cruise claimed that was no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain and once again said psychiatry is a pseudoscience. Scientology runs a facility in Los Angeles called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum. Gee, I wonder where Cruise gets his ideas. He apologised privately to Shields in 2006.

A 2006 New Yorker article on Bertram Fields — the notorious entertainment lawyer whose clients have included Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Michael Jackson, and… Tom Cruise — recounted an alleged incident in which Scientologists picketed a doctor who works with children who have ADD:

Fields is known for sending letters hinting at legal action if the recipient does not alter course. When he learned that the New York Post’s Page Six was preparing an item on Spielberg and Tom Cruise, he wrote to the editor:

**{: .break one} ** We have received word that you are planning a report that Steven Spielberg was upset with Tom about Tom’s speaking out about his views on children’s use of drugs . . . and that now they are not speaking to each other. . . . Each of these statements is absolutely and demonstrably false. Steven is not upset with Tom. . . . Tom and Steven remain close friends and are looking forward to working together again. **

Nevertheless, Page Six reported that Spielberg was furious with Cruise because, during a promotion tour for their movie “War of the Worlds,” Cruise had been “ranting” against “the widespread use of Ritalin to treat unruly children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.” Spielberg was reportedly upset because he knew children for whom “Ritalin does a lot of good,” and because Cruise, who is a Scientologist, “played up Scientology more than the movie during press interviews.”

According to two close friends of Spielberg’s, Page Six was accurate, although the item did not note the real source of Spielberg’s anger: after he mentioned to Cruise the name of a doctor—a friend—who prescribed Ritalin, the doctor’s office was picketed by Scientologists. When I asked Fields if Cruise had revealed the name of Spielberg’s friend to Scientologists, he said only, “I wouldn’t have said what I said without checking with Tom. I don’t know that I talked to Steven, who I’ve represented.”

In 2008, Fields turned attack dog for Cruise again, biting Dr Drew Pinsky over a comment he made in a Playboy interview. Pinsky said of Cruise’s relentless promotion of Scientology:

“To me, that’s a function of a very deep emptiness and suggests serious neglect in childhood — maybe some abuse, but mostly neglect.”

Fields fired back on Cruise’s behalf calling Pinsky “an unqualified television performer” and compared him to a Nazi:

“He seems to be spewing the absurdity that all Scientologists are mentally ill. The last time we hard garbage like this was from Joseph Goebbels.”

Pinksy is a) a licenced physician and b) from a Jewish background. It was Scientology working at ‘Fair Game’ tactics once again.

By 2013, in a deposition given during his $50 million defamation suit against Bauer Media, Cruise was admitting that Katie Holmes had left him — in the words of the opposing counsel — “in part to protect [his daughter] Suri from Scientology.” While he called the question “offensive”, he went on to admit that Holmes had told him that getting away from Scientology was one of her reasons for leaving (“Did she say that? That was one of the assertions, yes.”

In 2015, Marty Rathbun — a prominent ex-Scientologist (who the organisation obviously frames as “disgruntled”) — claimed in the documentary Going Clear Scientology and the Prison of Belief that Cruise had used worked from Scientology’s ‘elite’ Sea Org as free labour and agreed to a plan by the organisation to wiretap his then-wife Nicole Kidman. Cruise denied the allegation through his lawyer

To outline all the allegations around Scientology and how central Tom Cruise is to the promotion of the organisation around the world would take a book. There are many available. But the issue today is The Sun story. Tying into the most pressing news story of the year — the pandemic — and framing Cruise’s rant as just a hardworking guy losing his rag plays right into the PR objectives of both the actor and his ‘Church’.

Just look at the kicker from The Sun piece…

People make mistakes and they slip up, but Tom is just on it.

Mission: Impossible 7 is now set for release in November next year.

What a fantastic way to keep Cruise in the papers and to frame his behaviour as the understandable irritation of a man who just really cares. No mention of the couch-jumping on Oprah, no mention of that Scientology video.

Look at how people are already responding to the audio:

Tom Cruise is just a cool guy, you see. And that’s what Freedom Ethics, Scientology’s Twitter account dedicated to attacking the media, will say if this newsletter edition comes to its attention. Me? Well, that’ll be another story entirely.

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