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Defending the Weird Guy : Why I Support Tom Cruise

I do not like Tom Cruise. Frankly, like many Hollywood types he gets on my nerves, with his better-than-you attitude and flaunting his wealth and success. I also think Scientology is a crock religion, and people like Cruise are selling folks on a false faith. Having said that, I support Cruise in the clash with Viacom, and contend that his rights have been abused.

Here's the short story: For the last couple years or so, Cruise has been acting like the mascot for Froot Loops, jumping on sofas, attacking 'South Park' for having some fun - Tom, get a grip, it's a CARTOON - and generally saying things which bring up concerns for Tom's mental balance. On that basis, Viacom Fuhrer - er, Chairman Summer Redstone cut ties between his company, which owns Paramount Pictures, and Tom Cruise.
Said Redstone of Cruise; "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

I see. Well, that drunk driving incident with the accompanying anti-Semitic slurs certainly was damaging. Wait, sorry, that was Mel Gibson. Cruise has never been arrested for driving drunk, in fact I'm not sure he even drinks anymore.

OK, well that throw-the-phone-at-the-hotel-employee was pretty classless. Except that Russell Crowe did that, not Cruise.

Hmm. Maybe the time the costume "malfunctioned" on national television - no, that was Janet Jackson.

What's interesting is that while they faced some controversy, those three celebrities I just mentioned all got on with their lives and careers. Not one studio has even hinted at kicking them out. So what's different with Cruise? His religion.

I already said I think Scientology is a quack-fest, but everyone has a right to their personal beliefs. Scientology has never, so far as I know, started a war, which puts it morally ahead of certain Christian, Muslim, and even Buddhist sects. I tend to think of Scientologists much the same way as I do Mormons - Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, after all, were no saints, but many Mormons are fine people whose good works and character are worthy of admiration and imitation.

But I said at the start that I think Redstone is abusing Tom Cruise's rights. What I mean is, Hollywood definitely sells a perspective. They don't mind in the least if an actor or actress acts in a way which most people would consider lewd or promiscuous. They don't mind if an actor or actress attacks mainstream values, so long as they express the appropriate liberal alternative. They do not have any beef with someone who is hedonistic and vain, especially if it increases box office sales. But god help the actor, so to speak, who dares to express religious thoughts and opinions in public. The First Amendment never reached the West Coast, it seems. Tom Cruise may be a self-obsessed actor with a poor grasp of tact and poor tolerance for satire, but he still has rights. Even in Hollywood.


Comments (28)

Disagree. This is part of ... (Below threshold)

Disagree. This is part of the feedback mechanism. I own a business and if one of my employees is alientating customers for whatever reason, I should be free to dump that employee.

It is not like Cruise will never work in this town again or this is McCarthyism going on. This is simply a response to his increasingly weird behavior.

And this is no different from Cruise strongarming South Park, pulling their episode, and refusing to have MI3 Advertised on Comedy Central of they allowed the episode to air again. Oh yeah, and Isaac Hayes quitting over it.

If Cruise plays the game this way, then it is fair to play it back.

I dunno DJ. There are plen... (Below threshold)
scsiwuzzy:

I dunno DJ. There are plenty of other Scientologist still working in Hollywood.
I don't think his religion turned him into a hyperactive, humorless prick. Though it may prevent him from seeking professional help...

The public in general are no longer as fond of Cruise, and he no longer puts buts in the seats like he used to. The tolerance the sutdios have for actors' "quirks" is directly related to the amount of money they bring in.
When Russel Crowe is no longer a box office wonder, his antics will be met with displeasure too.
Janet Jackson... what's she done lately? Who has any big contracts with her?
Gibson... he didn't have a standing relationship with any studio like Cruise and his partner did. We'll have to wait and see what deals Mel gets in the future, the next time he tries to sell a picture or looks for an acting gig.

DJD-Help me here. ... (Below threshold)
jim:

DJD-

Help me here. I guess I'm confused. Just what rights of Tom C's did they violate?

Could you put it in a simple declarative sentence for me?

So many things wrong with t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So many things wrong with this post. Where to start? Ok, first, the comparisons:

Mel Gibson owns an independent production company, Icon, which has always been independent. The company has no longstanding partnership with a studio, as Cruise's does.

Russell Crowe does not have a production company, he's too busy with his awesome band. ;)

Janet Jackson is hardly a film actress, let alone a producer, so I don't know why any studio would "kick her out".

Now, as far as Cruise's "rights" are concerned, what rights are you talking about, and how are they abused? You mention the First Amendment, apparently because you are confusing Paramount Pictures and/or Viacom with the US Government. Tom Cruise has not had his rights infringed upon because a business partner no longer wants to continue a business relationship. Remember the free market? Shall the government force movie studios, or any other businesses for that matter, to retain partnerships against their will? Wouldn't that infringe upon their rights to conduct business with whomever they wish?

Aside from your hatred of the free market, don't you think that Redstone's decision was not simply because Cruise is a Scientologist, but because he started proselytizing on movie sets, setting up tents to recruit for his pyramid-scheme cult? Should his business partners, who fund his films by the way, simply accept that kind of thing?

Anyway, I'm curious to hear which of Cruise's "rights" have been abused.

Hmmm, I think they fired hi... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Hmmm, I think they fired him because he has (for now) stopped being a killer box office draw. MI3 was lame, not worth the cost to see in the theater. They decided they can't afford his prices, so let him go, finding a lame excuse to hide the truth.

I'm rather agnostic on the ... (Below threshold)

I'm rather agnostic on the Cruise thing... it looks like a pure business decision, not a thing to do with "religion"

Anyone kicking Travolta to the curb? And I'm seeing Kirstie Alley all over the TV with her Jennie Craig ads.

Cruise has the right to say and do whatever he likes and freedom of association allows others to decide whether or not to do business with Cruise.

I really doubt anyone in Cr... (Below threshold)
grnapl:

I really doubt anyone in Cruise’s camp feel like victims that one should “boo hoo” over. Cruise brought in a 1/3 of Paramount’s revenues and it has always been his 1/3 that made Paramount their highest profits.

The question is will Paramount survive with Cruise & Co quitting? Should Paramount survive given its inability to think clearly or effectively in retaining their greatest asset? Worldwide Cruise’s popularity year after year is highest ever and that includes last year even if it dipped in the US mainly because he stepped on the Pham monopolies divine right to tell the population (via the amply compensated media and psych industry) which drug to take on which day. Similarly Scientology’s popularity increases year after year and continues expanding faster and further than any previous religion in the history of Earth. Will that media survive? Should it survive given its continual slide to now being beneath contempt?

Pity and “boo hoo” the ones kicking and screaming madly; it isn’t Cruise or Scientology.

So then, do you think the r... (Below threshold)
Rick:

So then, do you think the rights of the Dixie Chicks been trampled because their fans have been staying away in droves because of comments they made on stage? I don't think so.

Granted, Redstone showed little class when he slammed Cruise that way, but his company can enter a contract or not with anyone they choose.

As I recall, there was some... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

As I recall, there was something about Disney dropping plans to air Mel Gibson Holocaust documentary or something. Also many have said that Mel Gibson will never work in Hollywood again. I personally do not believe it beside Mel has enough money to go on it alone anymore.

Cruise wasn't fired. His p... (Below threshold)
Malibu Stacy:

Cruise wasn't fired. His production company's contract with Paramount was up for renewal. The negotiations stalled; Paramount reportedly lowballed and Cruise/Wagner secured independent financing elsewhere.

I suspect the superannuated Sumner may be in his dotage, as cutting loose a cash cow like Cruise as Viacom's stock price dips seems profoundly ill-advised. I mean, there's crazy and then there's CRAZY.

copied from Stolen Thund... (Below threshold)
SicSemperTyrannus:

copied from Stolen Thunder:

Dumping Nicole Kidman one month before the prenup expired, acting like a nutjob, and especially his public criticism of Brooke Shields use of antideppressants for post-partum depression, drove away his female fan base.

Hollywood only loves you when you're making money. I think the real reason Paramount didn't renew Cruise's contract has more to do with the recent string of budget-busting flops Tom starred in and/or produced.

Claiming "censorship" in this matter reminds me of the Dixie Chicks whining reaction to the abandonment by their fan base after insulting the President. They antagonized and angered the people who (used to) buy their records and go to their concerts. Now they're cancelling many dates on their concert tour.

Similarly Scientol... (Below threshold)
Similarly Scientology’s popularity increases year after year and continues expanding faster and further than any previous religion in the history of Earth.

That is absolute crap; it is propaganda from the cult, just as the line "...Pham monopolies divine right to tell the population (via the amply compensated media and psych industry) which drug to take on which day." is. Looks like we have a Scientology troll here.

For anyone who doesn't know... (Below threshold)
ElvenPhoenix:

For anyone who doesn't know the roots of Scientology: A young L. Ron Hubbard was part of a group of science fiction writers. He approached said group saying "Hey guys! Got a great idea on how we can make a lot of money!" According to a couple of the (now deceased) writers, they basically patted him on his head in pity and sent him on his way. So he went out and wrote Dianetics, creating Scientology in the process.

Scientologists are not nice people. One of the aforementioned writers was driven from his hometown by Scientologists. He wrote a book on various religions of the world and referred to Scientology as a "cult". For that crime flyers were put up all over town with his picture claiming that he was a child molester.

In another incident an aquaintance of mine had a busness deal with the Scientologists that he wanted out of. They weren't happy with him, so they followed him around, left threatening messages on his answering machine, threatening notes, killed his dog...and stressed out his fiancee so much that she ended up having a nervous breakdown. Needless to say, the engagement was ended.

These are stories that I am personally aware of - I actually know the people involved.

For more information:

http://www.rickross.com/reference/scientology/history/history71.html

There's a link at the bottom of the article that takes you to a page with tons of informational links regarding Scientology.

When it comes to Tom Cruise, I think everything relevant has already been said. Dumping Nicole the way he did, his actions on Oprah, criticizing Brooke Shields for seeking help with her post-partum depression, and his behavior regarding the birth of his baby all points to someone in dire need of help. And he's not going to get it as long as he's participating in the Church of Scientology.

Sorry, DJ. I find I often ... (Below threshold)
JannyMae:

Sorry, DJ. I find I often agree with you, but not this time. This has nothing to do with anyone abusing Cruise's rights, and everything to do with a business exercising its rights in making a business decision.

"Scientology has n... (Below threshold)
Ex-Voto:
"Scientology has never, so far as I know, started a war, which puts it morally ahead of certain Christian, Muslim, and even Buddhist sects."


Applying DJ's curious measuring stick for determining the comparative moral quality of religions has opened my eyes to the moraly superiorty of Satanism. So far as I know, they've never started a war either.

From what I read, Steven Sp... (Below threshold)
Chris:

From what I read, Steven Spielberg was very angry that Cruise basically hijacked the publicity efforts for War of the Worlds with his antics. Last I heard, Spielberg has a little bit of pull in Hollywood, too. A lot of Cruise's outrageous behavior came when he was supposed to be promoting his films, which is part of the deal when they give you $20 million. When you instead use the time to alientate audiences, the studio has a legitimate beef.

The entertainment business is about popularity. When you lose your popularity, you are no longer useful. There's nothing fair or unfair about it. Cruise will just have to cry himself to sleep on his big old bed of money.

DJD,I wouldn't wan... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

DJD,

I wouldn't want to live in your world were an employer can't make a business decision on keeping or firing someone if the person plays the victim card.

I've given up seeing Cruise movies a long time ago. Was I 'violating' his rights? If enough other people have also given up that he no longer justifies the salaries he wants, why should he keep getting paid?

Perhaps you can point out where in the constitution it says you have to keep working with Cruise, even if he isn't worth the money you pay him.

Personally, I think hollywood and the country would be better off if they canned more actors and actresses for "unacceptable behavior".

I was going to add my thoug... (Below threshold)
Lizzie:

I was going to add my thoughts, but mantis said it far better than I had planned to!

Oh, and:

"I wouldn't want to live in your world were [sic] an employer can't make a business decision on keeping or firing someone if the person plays the victim card"

Don't come to Europe, then, John.

I was telling my husband th... (Below threshold)

I was telling my husband this morning about this and that it was *almost* enough to push Cruise over into the category of "underdog" at which point his critics would start looking for ways to excuse him. We care about fairness, even for people who are complete idiots.

I agree with everyone who said it's not about his religion, but about box office draw. (I won't watch anything with Russell Crowe in it either.)

There *is* an aspect of this that has to do with religion, and it's not that the audience is vindictive but that a large portion of the audience views adherence to Scientology as a symptom of brain death. Keep it low key... fine. But I think that Travolta's career has probably suffered a bit as well. Shirly McClaine maybe still has a career *because* she's looney, but she's limited to performing for the choir, so to speak.

The public reacts to divorce. You wouldn't think so when no one expects Hollywood marriages to last, but that's why I can't stand a movie with Crowe in it. I can't tell you why I reacted so much more strongly to him then to Brad and Angelina, because I'd go out of my way to avoid him while I won't make any effort either way for Brangelina.

Cruise was married to Nicole for a long time. People like to think that maybe *that* couple will be different when the marriage is long term, maybe true love is real after all, and people invest in the relationship. When it breaks up they feel betrayed.

Cruise didn't manage just *one* public relations screw-up, he managed *three*. Divorce from a long term marriage, *very* public declaration of Scientology brain death (child-birth Scientology style and the Brooke thing... NOT a way to encourage your female audience to make up private fantasies about you!), and jumping on Oprah's couch. Oh, make that FOUR... the South Park thing.

With his antics, TC has hur... (Below threshold)
LenS:

With his antics, TC has hurt the sales of his recent films. And since he gets a lot of guaranteed money upfront plus a big chunk of the revenue streams going forward, a TC film needs to have big numbers for the studio to make the same profit it would on a movie with much less in box office. But I'm guessing that TC wanted to increase his cut of the action in a new deal and that he wanted no part of any reductions in his share. TC will be fine. He'll just have to be more like Lucas or Gibson and risk his own capital. He just won't be able to be like Spielberg anymore and use other people's cash.

Tom Cruise a hugely rich ac... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Tom Cruise a hugely rich actor producer but with opinions on the world just like you and me, and it’s a free country. I do wish people would just get off his back and tell everyone the true reason why they all question his every move.

Paramount has rights too: t... (Below threshold)
JimK:

Paramount has rights too: to not have their projects affected by the screaming nutjob.

Besides, Tom Cruise has no *right* to be employed by Paramount. No one is preventing him from making movies.

This may still be a touchy ... (Below threshold)
JD:

This may still be a touchy subject, but perhaps DJD's viewpoint on this matter is shaded a tiny bit by the manner in which he departed that prior group blog effort for which he wrote - under circumstances that can be considered similar, if not perfectly congruous. Just sayin'...

What's the real reason, Mat... (Below threshold)

What's the real reason, Matt?

What's the real reason, ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What's the real reason, Matt?

That's easy. He's everyone's problem. That's because every time he goes up in the air, he's unsafe. They don't like him because he's dangerous.

Hey, maybe I have said a fe... (Below threshold)
Tom Cruise:

Hey, maybe I have said a few nutty things in my time, right. But the thing about eating the afterbirth? I was totally joking about that you know.

Everyone dislikes me becaus... (Below threshold)
Tom Cruise:

Everyone dislikes me because, like John Travolta, I am not just a charismatic center of the universe, but also a super genius! I know everything about everything, and I had Nicole Kidman to boot. Now I have a beautiful young wife who I control and keep off psychoactive medications. And I keep getting better looking. Watch out, Elizabeth Taylor!

Tom Cruise

see scientology on the web ... (Below threshold)
d e s:

see scientology on the web if interested and find out for yourself if it's for you and don't "mix it" with other sciences, religions or, ologies. it needs no assistance from those standing on the outside looking in. it stands alone just fine thank you




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