Leaked audio reveals actor Tom Cruise yelling at the crew of “Mission: Impossible 7” for breaking COVID-19 safety protocols.
Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology who has since dedicated herself to speaking out against the church, has written an essay accusing Tom Cruise of staging a publicity stunt with his now-famous COVID-19 safety rant.
In a piece penned for The Underground Bunker and retweeted by Remini, the actress wrote that Cruise, 58, a high-profile member of the church, had taken the situation as an opportunity to stage concern for the pandemic while privately not believing it poses a real threat, because Scientologists believe their members get sick “far less frequently than before” they joined.
“Tom seems to think that Hollywood is incapable of making films without his help,” Remini, 50, wrote, noting that it is the job of “COVID officers assigned to the movie” to monitor and enforce safety guidelines.
“Saying such a thing indicates the godlike figure Tom believes he is, and what he is told by Scientology. The reality is, anyone who is working in Hollywood today is working under strict COVID guidelines. Anyone who is working knows this. Tom Cruise is not dictating how films are being made, even if he seems to think so. This psychotic rant only proves what many who know Tom or have worked for Tom knows: He is an abusive dictator just as he was taught by his guru (Scientology leader) David Miscavige.”
In a statement to The Wrap and Yahoo Entertainment, the Church of Scientology said the organization “has done more than any other religious institution in promoting COVID-19 prevention actions – throughout the U.S. and worldwide.”
“Long before ‘stay at home’ directives, the Church took aggressive actions to prevent the spread of the virus,” the statement noted. “The Church’s leader acted well ahead of the curve. Remini is an unreliable source who attacks Scientology for publicity and money – as she herself has admitted.”
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Cruise, Remini and the Church of Scientology for further comment.
Leah Remini, left, and Tom Cruise. (Photo: Getty Images)
Remini had been a member of the church for 35 years before leaving in 2013. Two years later, she said in an interview that Cruise was one of the factors that led her to leave, because the actor is so tethered to the church, they view an attack on him as an attack on all of them.
The Sun on Tuesday released leaked audio of the “Mission: Impossible 7” producer and star shouting at crew members on the set in Leavesden, England, in an expletive-filled tirade, purportedly for breaking COVID-19 set safety protocols.
The world reacts to Tom Cruise’s rant: The actor’s speech is a flashpoint in the COVID debate as pandemic-weary world tries to go back to work
How it started: Tom Cruise shouts at ‘M:I7’ crew for breaking COVID-19 protocol in leaked expletive-filled audio
In the audio, Cruise can be heard yelling: “We are the gold standard. They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. Because they believe in us and what we’re doing. I’m on the phone with every (expletive) studio at night, insurance companies, producers and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you (expletive). I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”
Paramount Studios declined to comment on the audio to USA TODAY. Variety cited two sources close to the production confirming that it was Cruise speaking.
The Sun reported the outburst started in front of the crew of 50 after Cruise saw two crew members standing too close to one another in front of a computer screen.
“If I see you do it again you’re (expletive) gone,” Cruise told the crew. “And if anyone on this crew does it, that’s it – and you too and you too. And you, don’t you ever (expletive) do it again.”
The action franchise shut down its planned Venice shoot in February when coronavirus broke out in Italy before the first day of production. The movie was hit with more delays in October when 12 people on the set tested positive for COVID-19, Variety reported. Production resumed a week later. Two weeks ago, the shoot returned to the U.K.
Since then, other entertainers have weighed in. Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, Ava DuVernay, Josh Gad and George Clooney were among those who publicly sided with Cruise.
Contributing: Bryan Alexander
Last SlideNext Slide
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2020/12/20/tom-cruise-covid-19-rant-publicity-stunt-leah-remini-says/3981682001/