Newsflash: Tabloids make shit up. On July 1, Star rag, er … mag slapped a Tom Cruise photo on the cover with the huge headline “Tom Leaving Scientology!” with “I’m doing this for Suri” and “The tearful phone call that changed everything” below.
Tom Cruise leaving Scientology? I don’t think so.
The article credited the information to an “insider.” That means anybody could’ve called in with a “tip.” Heck, Cruise’s PR people could’ve set the rumor in motion trying to lure more people in to see “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” and resuscitate Tom’s career. You could’ve been the “insider.” I could’ve contacted the tabloid and told them I interview celebrities, and I believe Tom Cruise may be leaving Scientology because I heard he looked concerned during a phone call with Suri. Star could then refer to me as an insider who provided information.
After a week, I Googled that article, and it doesn’t show up anymore. If you search by the cover of the issue and click on “Visit Page,” it takes you to a new slideshow. Very fishy. If you search for the July 1 article on Star’s website, it doesn’t pop up.
Scientology says that man is an immortal being, so perhaps L. Ron Hubbard himself rose from the dead and threatened a big fat lawsuit, so Star took that shit down in a hurry. More than likely, Star was offered a lot of dough to delete it; check out this New York Times article that explained many moons ago how tabloids get away with lying about celebrities all the time.
Meanwhile in the Twitter-sphere, the “news” that Cruise was leaving went viral, and we know how that goes. Viral posts can create “facts.” It’s the opposite of contempt before investigation. On Wednesday, July 1, I must admit I got all atwitter on Twitter. I was so happy that there were signs of life in Cruise’s noggin, but I began digging.
The first thing that screamed “red flag” was that the rumor had been started by Star magazine. That’s not a publication well-known for its ethical and iron-clad journalism. This shocker of a news story was trending on every social media account I have. Sadly, the only thing truthful I found was that a lot of people wanted to see Tom Cruise finally coming to his senses and getting out of that cult.
Scientology has already cost Cruise three marriages. If you missed the enlightening documentary, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” by filmmaker Alex Gibney (“We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”), I strongly suggest you see it. It’s an in-depth exploration of the lengths to which this “religion” will go to in order to control its members and its image. It features eight former members of Scientology, including movie director and writer Paul Haggis, see at left, actor Jason Beghe (Det. Sgt. Hank Voight on “Chicago P.D.”), the church’s former second-in-command Mike Rinder and Sylvia “Spanky” Taylor, the former liaison to John Travolta.
As much as you thought you already knew about the creepy cult, you’ll still learn more. What a let down — Cruise is still there locked up tight.
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.