On the October 30, 2015 episode of ABC's 20/20, actress Leah Remini divulged details on the series of events that led to her leaving the Church of Scientology in 2013. Remini alleges that there are serious consequences if Church members criticize the organization's most famous son: Tom Cruise. Cruise joined Scientology in 1986, during the time between filming Risky Business and Top Gun.
Scientology has always loved celebrities. In 1955, science-fiction writer and founder of the religion L. Ron Hubbard had a written a Scientology program governing celebrity recruitment. He called it “Project Celebrity.” Hubbard offered rewards to Scientologists who targeted movie stars and celebrities. It was stated that: "If you bring one of them home you will get a small plaque as your reward." Hubbard believed that famous people would give his organization legitimacy. In a newsletter, Hubbard listed 63 famous celebrities for members to target. Walt Disney was on the list. So were Picasso, Liberace, and Groucho Marx. (None of them became Scientologists.)
Jump ahead to the modern day: Mr. Tom Cruise is now the most outspoken celebrity supporter of the Church of Scientology. Naturally, there are some nutty Tom Cruise and Scientology rumors floating around. Remember, these are all just rumors.
Remember when Tom Cruise was married to Nicole Kidman? It’s alleged that the Church of Scientology broke up their marriage and turned their adoptive children against Kidman. The church supposedly told the children that Kidman was a "Suppressive Person" (a Scientology term for those who aren't believers). It didn’t help matters that Kidman’s father was a renowned psychologist in Australia.
The Church of Scientology allegedly waged an aggressive campaign to get Cruise to dump Kidman, which included wiretapping her phone.
Scientology itself is anti-psychiatry. Founder L. Ron Hubbard proclaimed psychiatry was an evil enterprise, a form of terrorism, and the cause of crime. Hubbard’s anti-psychiatry themes were first introduced in his sci-fi books Mission Earth and Battlefield Earth.
In a famous 2005 interview with Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise defended his criticism of Brooke Shields taking medication for post-partum depression. When Lauer talked about certain drugs helping people he knew, Cruise said: "You're glib." And later in the charged interview, "You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do."
In her 20/20 interview, Remini said that Tom Cruise was one of the main factors leading to her leaving Scientology. She said Cruise is so important to the church that the two are inseparable. Thus, in Scientology logic: an attack on Tom Cruise is an attack on Scientology.
“Being critical of Tom Cruise is being critical of Scientology itself,” Remini said. “You are evil.”
In 2008, Jerry O’Connell made a Tom Cruise Scientology parody video for Funny or Die. O’Connell’s video is a satire of the infamous/intense video interview Cruise gave about Scientology. Cruise wields such power in the Scientology community that O’Connell still avoids him to this day.
He said on the podcast Allegedly with Theo Von & Matthew Cole Weiss: “I saw [him] at one event and I hid. I had to be at the event. I hid for as long as I could. When it was time to disperse, I literally was the first at valet.”