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.