A drunken anti-Semitic screed wasn’t enough to get Disney to sever ties with Mel Gibson, but a defense of his religion and declaration of his love causes Paramount to cut its connections to the tireless, enthusiastic and multi-talented star Tom Cruise?
No way. There has to be something more.
We in the Tabloid Baby office hear it may have been another factor that led Viacom boss Sumner Redstone and company over the edge—none other than John Mark Karr.
This weekend, journalists who accompanied the bizarre Mr. Karr on his luxury plane trip from Thailand to Los Angeles reported that not only did he munch on fried shrimp and duck breast and slurp down champagne and beer—he also enjoyed watching the Tom Cruise movie, The Last Samurai.
Observers of this weird twist in the JonBenet Ramsey case will note that Cruise joins Michael Jackson as the only other celebrity name that's been associated with Karr (they and the group Chicago, whose songs Karr sings in a video acquired by The National Enquirer— imagine the money that passed hands there-- but they don’t count as celebrities).
Tenuous though the connection may be, could Karr be the cause of the Cruise cut-off?
Stranger things have happened in Hollywood. And while Redstone was fighting to reduce the terms of Cruise's deal, the timing is very suspicious. News stories connecting Karr and the star of The Last Samurai could indeed have been the last straw.
We’ve met Tom Cruise more than once, personally and professionally, and he’s always been gracious and accommodating. Tabloid Baby respects his right to practice and proclaim his religion. We respect his and Katie Holmes’ decision to keep their newborn child out of the public eye. And we found it refreshing when he departed from the publicist's script and decided to let his freak flag fly.
Mr. Redstone is out of line, especially for a guy whose own public behaviour has raised more than a few eyebrows in the corporate suites.
As for Cruise, no worries. His company will find a new home and partners. Already, our friends at Frozen Pictures, producers of the hit comedy DVD, Cloud 9, tell us they’d be anxious to work with Cruise and company any time.
A tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to editor Barry Z, who told the bosses the Cruise-Karr connection was newsworthy long before the Paramount story broke.