It was the rant heard round the world, and it's one that now has an ex-Scientologist pitted against the most famous one. Last week, Tom Cruise was heard in leaked audio from the Mission: Impossible 7 movie set berating crew members who weren't following COVID protocols to his liking. While some on social media said his actions were abusive, others—including celebrities like George Clooney, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alec Baldwin, per USA Today—came to his defense. Now, King of Queens actor Leah Remini, who defected from Scientology after 35 years, has firmly placed herself in the former camp, alleging the 58-year-old star's tirade was just a PR stunt. Remini, 50, expanded on the matter in a statement to the Underground Bunker blog, run by journalist Tony Ortega, calling Cruise's outpouring a "psychotic rant" by an "abusive dictator"—and it's one she says she's seen before.
What he did "shows his true personality," Remini notes. "He is an abusive person. I witnessed it, I've been a recipient of it on a small level, and I've been told of similar abuse ... This is the real Tom." Remini also calls what Cruise did a power play. "This is not just a guy in the middle of a public place standing up to someone for not wearing a mask," Remini says, adding that any COVID precautions Scientologists take is "just a show," as they train themselves not to react to things like pandemics. "This is Tom friggin' Cruise wielding his power and threatening and degrading his crew." The Church of Scientology, meanwhile, is bristling at her insinuations. "The Church of Scientology has done more than any other religious institution in promoting COVID-19 prevention actions—throughout the US and worldwide," it says in a statement to the Wrap. "Remini is an unreliable source who attacks Scientology for publicity and money–as she herself has admitted." Her full statement here. (Read more Leah Remini stories.)