Tom Cruise’s Alien World
“Scientology is something that you don’t understand,’ he scolded the TV host,’ like a schoolteacher talking to a slow-witted pupil.” – Andrew Morton
It was the late spring of 2005, a beautiful time in Virginia when the winter’s cool grays have been replaced by a fresh palette of brilliant hues. A commercial was going to be filmed for Gutter Helmet (a product that stops gutters from amassing leaves), and my husband Rick had been hired on as the still photographer. It was taking place at the spokesperson’s rural Shenandoah Valley home. The spokesperson is rather famous, and the location—and the drive out to it—promised to be gorgeous, so I decided to go along.
Willard Scott’s 2-story log house was perched atop a hill overlooking a large barn and a cluster of outbuildings. Best known as the weatherman for NBC’s The Today Show (from 1980 to 2015), Scott’s had quite an eclectic career. Born in Virginia in 1934, he played Bozo the Clown on television in the 1960s, as well as Ronald McDonald for the Washington-area McDonald’s franchise. On Today he became known for wishing centenarians happy birthday during a segment sponsored by Smucker’s jellies.
Despite the fact that the film crew numbered eight—quite an invasion for such a remote spot—I’m happy to report that Willard Scott was a very genial host.
We were gazing out of a spotless window, admiring the view, when Scott, leaning over my shoulder, asked me if his barn looked familiar. Behind him, in the large kitchen, the crew was noisily setting the farm-style table for a quick lunch.
“Well,” I responded, “with the mid-morning shadows, it resembles an Andrew Wyeth painting. It’s lovely.”
“It is beautiful,” he bellowed, turning towards the farm table, the entire crew now seated around it. “But that barn was used in a scene of Steven Spielberg’s, War of the Worlds. I had the best viewing seat imaginable from up here in my cabin.”
“Tom Cruise,” he continued, “had a tent set up down there. It was filled with a bunch of Scientology promotional material. He was pushing it on the cast and crew.” With this last statement, a unified moan followed by stifled laughter rose up from the crew.
The conversation quickly turned into a smack-down of Cruise and Scientology. At the time, Cruise had just had his infamous sparring match with Willard Scott’s co-host Matt Lauer. Scientology and its most famous celebrity poster boy had become punchlines.
I sat quietly, not commenting. There was no way I was going to divulge that my ex-husband was an avid follower of the controversial religion. It was uncomfortable. I was thankful that my son Kyle hadn’t come with us on this assignment. This conversation would have embarrassed him. Kyle wavered between having empathy for and being angry with his Scientology-devoted father.
Fifteen years have now passed since Tom Cruise embarked on a publicity tour promoting Spielberg’s action film loosely based on the 1898 novel by H. G. Wells. It’s one thing for celebrities to hawk their latest movie or TV project—we expect them to do that—but it’s quite another when they use their celebrity to peddle Scientology, a religion that features outlandish medical beliefs. Celebrities have massive ready-made audiences. When they palm off their easily disproven falsehoods as medical facts, they place their fan base and the general public at risk.
Cruise had the full attention of the public in May 2005 when he manically jumped on Oprah’s couch while proclaiming his love for Katie Holmes. His erratic behavior continued the next month while promoting War of the Worlds on The Today Show. Dressed in a black T-shirt, Cruise argued heatedly with host Matt Lauer over actress Brook Shields use of the anti-depressant Paxil to help with her postpartum depression. With no medical background, the arrogant and combative Cruise stated that “psychiatry is pseudoscience.” He told Lauer that he “should be more responsible” in his reporting. “You don’t know the history of psychiatry,” said Cruise, “I do.”
His point of view was in perfect lockstep with the tenets of Scientology (and it’s ironic that he was simultaneously promoting an alien-themed movie and an alien-themed religion). Scientology is well known for its rabid opposition to mainstream psychiatry, and the psychoactive drugs psychiatrists prescribe. Scientologists routinely describe psychiatry as Nazi science.
The puffed-up Cruise appeared to have taken the words of his religion’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, too seriously. Hubbard—who’d never studied medicine or psychiatry–called psychiatrists deeply unethical people who denied human spirituality, and claimed that they committed “extortion, mayhem, and murder.” Psychiatry itself, he wrote, was the source of all of humanity’s problems.
In The Today Show interview, Cruise promoted his brand of quackery—vitamins and exercise—for the treatment of mental illness. He said he’d done the research to back his anti-science and pro-Scientology claims. What he should have divulged, however, was that he’d simply studied the writings of a science-fiction writer.
At the time, his bitter attack against the psychiatric profession didn’t have much of an impact on me. Perhaps if I’d paid closer attention to the message instead of the messenger, my story would have had a happier ending.
When Kyle’s cell phone was returned home after his death, it was discovered that he’d saved a voice message. It was from his Scientologist father telling him to take the vitamins he’d bought him. He said that they were the only things that could help Kyle.
Three days after my son Kyle was found dead in his Scientologist father’s apartment, his name appeared on a website called “Operation Clambake.” According to the site’s admin, it read, “Tragic death in downtown Clearwater of Kyle Brennan. Died for support of Tom Cruise’s anti-psych beliefs.” (The “clambake” in the title, we later discovered, had nothing to do with fire-pits and steam-cooked seafood. It refers to a passage written by Hubbard wherein he claimed that humankind has evolved from clams. Ever wonder why we’re afraid of falling? According to Hubbard, it’s because when we were clams, birds often dropped us on rocks to break us open.)
Thanks to the inclusion of Cruise’s name in the anonymous Internet post, its meaning, and somber implication were indisputably clear. The text didn’t even have to say Scientology.
Having Tom Cruise associated with my discovery that Scientology had something to do with Kyle’s death was disconcerting. And that nauseating feeling often came back while standing in line at supermarket checkouts. From that vantage point, trapped alongside the tabloid rack, you can’t miss the screaming headlines. There’s no avoiding them. Cruise’s superstar status meant that his name and face were often splashed across the scandal sheets. This became a persistent and painful reminder. Several years would pass before I could untangle Cruise’s name from our Clambake moment.
“Tom Cruise An Unauthorized Biography“– Andrew Morton
Operation Clambake Message
Tom Cruise Biographer Andrew Morton
Copyright©2023 Victoria Britton
He’s nuts… I think he may be a good actor but he’s always creeped me out and that under the skin feeling that something is very off and you can’t put your finger on it…. Yeah…
Have you tried reaching out to Leah at all with this??
Thinking of you, as always,
Sorry for your loss, Victoria. This is made worse by the fact that neither you, nor your son was in the cult.
When I saw CoS, I thought it was short for cult of scientology only to see it means church of scientology. Though I think cult is more appropriate
I’m still working on it! I hope you are well, Peter. Sending you many best wishes in return.
Hi Victoria, Did you get your book published yet? Best wishes, Peter
They are all sad and mad. Brainwashed. Poster boy Tom is a valuable asset to the Scientology cult with his perfect looks and slick blabbery. It makes one want to throw up.
I recently read after the death of Lisa Marie Presley that she and her mother were involved with Scientology as well. She said they took their soul and money and life.
That bastard Miscavige is no better than Hunter Biden or Jeffrey Epstein. And, he’ll be protected like SBF.
I’m pretty sure that Scientology is a CIA asset, involving Miles Copeland, Jr.
Evading a process server in a lawsuit involving the Church of Scientology or one of its adherents is business as usual with this group. They have a lot of money, and that buys power. When Kyle died, the organization (OSA)put their in-house attorney, Paul B. Johnson, on the case during the earliest days of the death investigation. I’ve more than proven how that affected the final outcome. Also, according to those who have worked closely with David Miscavige, he’s an alleged control freak who oversees any and all legal situations with the church, especially those involving the Miscavige name. He would have been directly involved in placing Paul B. Johnson front and center during the death investigation of Kyle.
We will have to wait and see what happens with the trafficking lawsuit. As for Miscavige, he can run but can’t hide forever. Accountability, truth, and justice are on the horizon.
Victoria, did you pick up on this…
Christopher Hitchens regarded Scientology as a racket… which of course it is. I’d go further and call it organised crime.
Love and strength, Victoria.
The scary thing is I, like my son, was never a member of the COS
I’m so very sorry to hear about your son. You know…I never taught my son about evil, only how to love. This I now realize was a mistake. I’ve come to realize there’s no point in trying to understand the mindset of a person with sociopathic tendencies. It is better to understand and feel love even if it creates grief at its loss than having an empty black core for a soul. Sending you a big hug Kindness
Absolutely! It’s important to spread the information far and wide. Thank you for doing this. Your support and compassion are greatly appreciated. Be well, Kindness!
David money is the target Cruise is a very evil scamer
Congratulations on escaping this cult 💯
Would you permit us to post on Ace News Daily News. We will fight man-made cults world 🌎 wide
No Parent should lose a Son. Yes, I did too. The journey is never over we do the best we can. The evil forces here at play were abhorrent. To hell with man made religions. Scientology is an cult. Money making machine. We often wonder how Tom Cruise sleeps at night. Sick little satan..
Sorry for your loss.
Thank you, Susan!
Sorry about your loss
They follow me and found me 15 years after I left them
I was stupid 23 years old and came across them in Milan italy.🇮🇹
OK it was very bad 👎
Oh my! At some point if you are willing I’d like to hear about your experience.
For 3 years im glad I found my Jesus 23 years ago
I was in that so called religion
God bless you
He is sick 😷 in the head
Victoria, I am so sorry that you lost your son the way you did. I can only imagine the strength it takes to emotionally overcome such a tragic and senseless loss. All my best to you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Its amazing how people’s misconceptions and deceit can cause so much damage. May God strength you.
Dear Bernice, Thank you for your gift of compassion and caring. I am truly grateful. Sending much love back to you!
Dear David, Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate your taking the time to write such a thought-provoking comment. I’m grateful to you for your support and kindness. Be well, and stay safe!
Sorry about your loss. Years may have gone by but it may still feel like it was yesterday. Glad you followed your instincts. I was entertained by your post not knowing where it was going to lead me. I can’t believe this. Much love to you. Big hug. ~ Bernice
Dear Victoria, I’m very sorry to read about the loss of your son. You have my deepest sympathies. When I began reading this blog, I thought it was one of the most interesting WordPress blogs I’ve ever encountered. I found your anecdotes about Scott Willard and the brief biography you included to be fascinating. To be honest, I have always enjoyed Tom Cruise’s work as an actor. He’s a very bright and extremely talented man. I’ve never paid much attention to his Scientology side. What you have written about this side of the actor is revealing and shocking. It’s unimaginable that a man like Cruise can be so tragically deluded. And It’s tragic that it had the effect that it did on your son. Ironically, any competent Psychiatrist can most likely come up with a rational explanation for Cruise’s abnormal devotion to Scientology. It’s so unfortunate that Cruise is wasting his platform on something as destructive as his religion.
I’m glad you found my blog. I’m certainly happy to have found yours.
Patti, I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I agree with you regarding man’s inhumanity being the worst of society’s ills. Since losing my son, I’ve witnessed it to an unprecedented level. Thankfully, I’ve also experienced the very best of humanity. I still believe most people are good and try to do what is right. Unfortunately, those without a conscious do live among us. Tragically and with no empathy leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Sending you a big hug. Be well!
I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my daughter to suicide due to addiction. Man’s inhumanity to their fellow man is the worst of society’s ills. xxx
You’re welcome, sweetie! ❤🙏
Thank you for your support, Cherie!
Thank you for your words of support. It is my hope that in sharing Kyle’s story it will help educate the public. Perhaps it may even prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. Be well Doval!
I am very sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing all this.
Not long ago I read Scientology was on on a downward path. I hope so! Humans evolving from clams? Uf.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Scientology is a cult that’s based on a science fiction writer’s delusions but it has so much institutional power because of celebrities like Tom Cruise. I had no idea that Hubbard thought humans evolved from clams! The more that this information is exposed, it’s clear that Scientology is harmful. I recently saw a documentary on Netflix exposing Scientology, it was shocking how abusive that cult is to its followers. Thank you for sharing this information.
Thank you 🙏
Thank you, Coach!
Stay happy healthy and safe
It must take all your energy to be so brave and courageous.
Words cannot express my sadness for you. Anytime celebrities use their fame to suck others into a cult, in my mind, they no longer deserve to be called celebrities. You can only hope that the church devours them too, and that they wake up and realize that scientology is a cancer and is only out for their dollars. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Though I am of the view that adults have to take responsibility for what they believe and what they don’t, I agree celebrities need to behave in a responsible manner as there are many children and youngsters looking up to them.
I am sorry for your loss. I used to idolize Tom Cruise (as a lot of women do), but after finding out about his Scientology background and their beliefs, I find him repugnant. And I just recently found out that Ron L. Hubbard was the founder I believe. I won’t be reading any of his books that’s for sure and I had thought about it. I didn’t know who he was. Again I am sorry for your loss.
I am so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers and healing vibes your way.
Sometimes we don’t know what to believe.🤔