Rupert Murdoch labels Scientology "very weird cult"

LOS ANGELES Sun Jul 1, 2012 6:48pm EDT

News Corp Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch enters his vehicle as he leaves his home in New York June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

News Corp Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch enters his vehicle as he leaves his home in New York June 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Keith Bedford

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch took a swipe at Tom Cruise on Sunday in a series of tweets that labeled the Hollywood star a No. 2 or No. 3 person in the hierarchy of Scientologists, a group the media mogul called "creepy."

Cruise, a star of the "Mission: Impossible" movies, has long been a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, which some have described as a cult. The actor made headlines on Friday when it was revealed his wife, actress Katie Holmes, had filed for divorce and is seeking sole custody of their daughter, Suri.

"Scientology back in news. Very weird cult, but big, big money involved with Tom Cruise either number two or three in hierarchy (sic)," Murdoch posted Sunday on his official Twitter feed.

Later in the day, he tweeted: "Watch Katie Holmes and Scientology story develop. Something creepy, maybe even evil, about these people."

Murdoch acknowledged his tweets would be controversial about an hour afterward with: "Since Scientology tweet hundreds of attacks. Expect they will increase and get worse and maybe threatening. Still stick to my story."

It is not often that a high-profile media mogul like Murdoch - News Corp owns the Fox brand of TV networks and movie studios and various media companies worldwide - attacks a major movie star such as Cruise publicly, although it has happened to Cruise before.

In 2006, Viacom Inc's Sumner Redstone caused a stir in when he criticized Cruise after the movie star and Viacom's Paramount Pictures ended a production deal following the lackluster box office performance of "Mission: Impossible III."

"We don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot," Redstone told the Wall Street Journal at the time. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Redstone was referring to interviews Cruise gave that year that made headlines worldwide for Cruise's behavior, including jumping on Oprah Winfrey's talk show couch and professing his love for Katie Holmes in front of millions on U.S. television.

Cruise and Holmes eventually married and had Suri, who is now 6 years old. The high-profile family is a favorite of celebrity magazines and news that Holmes filed for divorce in New York came while Cruise was filming in Iceland.

A representative for the Church of Scientology was not immediately available on Sunday to comment, nor was an attorney for Cruise.

(Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Eric Walsh and Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (6)
ImranAnwar wrote:
Nothing more that Rupert Murdoch would like to do than divert attention from his criminal enterprise in the UK getting exposed. Nothing more that Tom Cruise would like than an attack on his (no matter if weird or not) religious beliefs to divert attention away from the divorce.

Murdoch may of course have inklings of investigative reports into what may be behind the divorce. In either case, at the very least,

I give Tom Cruise, regardless of his Scientology beliefs or couch jumping antics, credit for doing a great job with the Mission Impossible franchise, and being a real action hero in movies. Plus, wow, to be able to pull off a musical in Rock Of Ages and be in such great shape as he turns 50, how inspiring.

I do give Murdoch credit for at least speaking out bluntly, in a day and age when teams of lawyers and PR people sanitize every word, cough and sneeze of celebrities and power players before they are uttered. What do you all think?

Imran Anwar

Jul 01, 2012 7:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
brenro wrote:
For the first time ever I agree with this slimeball on something.

Jul 01, 2012 7:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
brenro why the harsh words about ImranAnwar??

Jul 01, 2012 10:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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