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Several celebrities and observers came to Tom Cruise's defense this week after leaked audio captured the actor castigating crew members for breaking COVID-19 safety protocols on the set of Mission: Impossible 7. However, Leah Remini criticized Cruise in a lengthy statement published Wednesday, claiming his outburst was a "publicity stunt" and calling him "an abusive person."
"Tom’s reaction...shows his true personality," Remini wrote in the statement, published on the anti-Scientology blog The Underground Bunker. "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 by his former girlfriend, his employees, and his friends. This is the real Tom."
"Tom does not care about the families of his crew; this is all for publicity," Remini continued. "I would bet that Tom had this rant written for him and had his Scientology assistant record and release it. Hearing a rich actor with enormous power address his crew in this way is a sign of weakness and a deeply troubled person."
A representative for Cruise did not respond to EW's request for comment.
The audio clip, released by The Sun, was reportedly recorded after Cruise saw two crew members standing too close to each other. Cruise can be heard yelling, "I'm on the phone with every f---ing studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they're looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherf---ers! I don't ever want to see it again. Ever!"
"Tom seems to think that Hollywood is incapable of making films without his help," Remini said in her statement after Cruise's outburst. "Saying such a thing indicates the godlike figure Tom believes he is, and what he is told by Scientology. The reality is, anyone who is working in Hollywood today is working under strict COVID guidelines. Anyone who is working knows this. Tom Cruise is not dictating how films are being made, even if he seems to think so."
Remini is a former member and vocal critic of the Church of Scientology — of which Cruise is an active and prominent member. She recently launched the podcast Scientology: Fair Game, a follow-up to her A&E docuseries Scientology and the Aftermath. The series investigated tactics she says the church employs against critics, all of which the Church of Scientology has denied.
She has also criticized the Mission: Impossible star in the past.
"He is very aware of the abuses that go on in Scientology," Remini told The Daily Beast in a 2018 interview. "He's been part of it." She added that she believes he is "considered a deity within Scientology."