In the acclaimed documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, a number of accusations were made against Tom Cruise, the Church of Scientology’s most famous member.
According to Marty Rathbun, a high-ranking Scientologist and sometime enforcer, “I was to facilitate the breakup with Nicole Kidman.” In the film, Rathbun alleged the church took a number of measures to convince Cruise to cut ties with his then-wife, a non-believer, including wiretapping her phone, “auditing” Cruise day and night, and “re-educating” their adopted children so they would turn against Kidman. Cruise ultimately split from Kidman in 2001, and was awarded the church’s highest honor, the Freedom Medal of Valor, in 2004.
Cruise is also best friends with Scientology’s controversial leader David Miscavige, who served as Cruise’s best man during his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.
“They’re two peas in a pod,” Tom De Vocht, a former member of Scientology’s Commodore Messenger’s Organization (CMO), or its internal police, told me of Cruise and Miscavige. “They’re very similar characters—both rather absorbed by themselves, and intensely so. You don’t want to look at ’em wrong, say anything wrong, and you definitely don’t want to better them in any way. You had to be very careful around them.”
Cruise’s representative did not respond to multiple requests for comment; the Church of Scientology, as is its wont, sent a rambling screed calling the allegations “absurd,” claiming church members were the real victims, and encouraging me to tune in to their burgeoning cable TV network.
Despite his high-ranking Scientology status, including a wacky indoctrination video featuring the actor that went viral, Cruise’s Hollywood star still shines bright, with his most recent blockbuster movie, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, raking in nearly $800 million worldwide.
And the public’s continued embrace of Cruise is troubling to many of the church’s former members, who have alleged abuse and harassment at the hands of the so-called cult—including actress Leah Remini.
“Scientologists are told that Tom Cruise is saving the world single-handedly, so he is considered a deity within Scientology. He is second to David Miscavige—the savior of the free world. Tom is even called ‘Mister Cruise’ by staff members,” Remini told The Daily Beast.
Remini left the church in 2013, and has since served as a Scientology whistleblower, publishing the bestselling memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, and serving as the host and executive producer of the Emmy-winning A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which highlights horror stories by ex-Scientologists. The show returns for its third season Nov. 27.
The King of Queens star alleges Scientology officials do everything they can to ensure that their most prized member doesn’t so much as see anything critical of the religion that’s based on the writings of sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard.
“Scientology goes to great lengths to not allow Tom to see anything disparaging about Scientology,” says Remini. “They’ll go so far as, if he’s going to walk a certain place, they’ll make sure there are no magazines that are anti-Scientology, so he can’t see that.”
And there are many Scientologists who’ve been conditioned by the church to not read or listen to anything critical of it.
“I think people think [Cruise is] an innocent victim in all of this. Most Scientologists are, and I can actually say this about most Scientologists because I was in it, so I know my own heart,” Remini explains. “They told me not to look at certain things, and the quote that they used would be ‘don’t forward an enemy line,’ which means you reading a magazine, or a book, or watching Going Clear is forwarding an ‘enemy line.’ There are even Facebook posts from Scientologists saying, ‘Don’t forward an enemy line. Don’t click on anything.’ So I know that Scientologists willfully don’t look at these things because the church is telling them that these are ‘enemy lines,’ and you don’t want to look at anything apostates have to say.”
“Where Tom is concerned, that is very different,” she adds. “He is very aware of the abuses that go on in Scientology. He’s been part of it.”
As Remini tells it, Cruise’s close friendship with Miscavige has afforded him certain knowledge of Scientology’s internal operations that other members do not possess—including their penchant for corporal punishment, which many ex-members, including De Vocht, have attested to.
“He’s best friends with David Miscavige, so he’s privy to the punishments that David Miscavige doles out, and I’ve been told by a senior executive of Scientology, who was there, that David Miscavige constantly threatened the staff at Gold Base with bringing Tom Cruise to Gold Base to kick their fucking asses,” claims Remini.
She also alleges a Scientology official informed her that Cruise personally administered punishment on a high-ranking member of the church—on Miscavige’s orders.
“He is not in the same category as the average Scientologist,” she says.
Read the rest of The Daily Beast’s interview with Leah Remini on Sunday, Nov. 25.