An audio recording of Tom Cruise is going viral after he lashed out at members of the Mission: Impossible 7 crew. The movie is currently filming in the U.K., and Cruise was enraged by seeing crew members standing less than a meter apart on set, breaking COVID-19 safety restrictions.
Published by The Sun, Cruise’s expletive-filled rant paints a picture of the Hollywood superstar under serious pressure.
“If I see you do it again, you’re fucking gone,” he yells on the tape. “And if anyone in this crew does it, that’s it—and you too, and you too. And you, don’t you ever fucking do it again.”
“They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us!” Cruise shouts, telling the crew that he spends every night on the phone talking to producers and studios about the future of the industry. “We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherfuckers.”
The actor then says he wants to hear “no apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their fucking homes because our industry is shut down.”
Cruise is famously intense about his work and has a more hands-on role in films like Mission: Impossible than the average Hollywood star. He’s a workaholic whose entire life revolves around the film industry, so it makes sense that he’s majorly stressed out by the pressures of filming a movie during COVID-19—and, most likely, amid the shifting landscape of Hollywood in general.
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The recording is predictably divisive. Cruise is already a controversial figure due to his notorious relationship with Scientology, and his on-set rant is being interpreted in several different ways. Many people found it cathartic because it’s rare to see a public figure so incensed about the pandemic. We’re used to seeing people in power downplay the issue. And if you’re sick of seeing people flouting safety measures like social distancing, it might be satisfying to imagine going on an expletive-laden rant like Cruise.
At the same time, if this rant were about anything else, most people would perceive it as an unpleasant celebrity meltdown. Screaming obscenities is not exactly an admirable managerial technique. This recording depicts a scarily powerful man yelling at his employees, threatening to fire anyone whom he believes is breaking the rules.
But Cruise is the one choosing to make this film in the first place, instead of pausing production until the vaccine is widely available. He could use his wealth and power to lobby for (or maybe even pay for) better workplace support for furloughed film workers. Instead, his priority is finishing Mission: Impossible 7. Four months ago, this same guy was urging the public to go to movie theaters and see Tenet, even though it was blatantly unsafe to do so.
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