All publicity is not good publicity, as far as Tom Cruise is concerned.
As the actor continues to battle Bauer Media in a down and dirty $50 million lawsuit about stories published in In Touch and Life & Style, RadarOnline.com has obtained shocking new emails that prove his high-priced lawyers have repeatedly used similar legal intimidation tactics to attempt to squash other stories by journalists for The Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker — and more.
In September, 2012, Cruise’s attorney, Bert Fields, sent a pre-emptive strike at Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter, who was preparing a story on the effect a recent Vanity Fair takedown piece on Scientology would have on Cruise’s career.
“I’m told you’re writing about [Vanity Fair writer] Maureen Orth‘s hatchet job and its supposed impact on Tom Cruise’s career,” Fields wrote in the document uncovered as part of discovery in his client’s bitter case against the publisher.
After dismissing the VF piece as “old tabloid lies spewed before by bitter ex-Scientologists,” Fields suddenly decided to compare Masters to a Nazi, which is a favorite Fields tactic, as Radar has exposed.
“Your suggestion that Tom may have to quit the Church to save his career begins to sound like Germany in the 1930s, where a man’s professional career could be ended because of his religion,” he wrote. “You’re too good a reporter to let your feelings about Scientology, which you and I discussed years ago, cause you to hurt Tom, who’s a very good guy and who doesn’t deserve it.”
Masters proceeded with the piece, but it ended up being largely favorable towards Cruise.
Fields sent another letter to a Pulitzer Prize winning writer for The New Yorker, Lawrence Wright, in March 2012, after he published an article on the Church of Scientology. That article “contained false and defamatory assertions about Mr. Cruise,” Fields claimed, before offering to fact check a book that Wright was composing about Scientology at the time.
“If you let me know in advance what, if anything, you are saying about Mr. Cruise in the book, I’ll be glad to advise you whether or not it is true,” he continued, threatening, “If you do not take advantage of this opportunity to avoid false and defamatory statements about Mr. Cruise, that, of course, will be evidence of reckless disregard. Of course, if the book does contain libelous assertions about Mr. Cruise, we will, at the appropriate time, file an appropriate action.”
When Wright’s book, Going Clear, was published ten months later, Fields issued a statement calling it “provable lies by a bunch of bitter ex-Scientologists,” in language eerily similar to that he used with The Hollywood Reporter. Cruise did not, however, pursue legal action.
Weirdly enough, Fields even went beyond his usual communiques with journalists to threaten a psychic in July 2012.
After medium Thomas John gave a reading about Cruise and his divorce from wife Katie Holmes to HollywoodLife.com that month,” Fields wrote him a letter warning him never to speak his client’s name again.
“For you to make these outrageous statements with no personal knowledge of Mr. Cruise or the reasons for his divorce is reprehensible,” he snapped. “The fact that you claim to be a ‘psychic medium’ does not give you a license to defame Mr. Cruise.”
“Your statements are not only false, defamatory and malicious,” he wrote, “but they are grossly irresponsible. You are making salacious claims about our client in order to enrich yourself at his expense, knowing that your lies will be there for his children to read for all time.”
Fields insisted “I must ask that you show some decency and stop making false statements about our client. If you do not, Mr. Cruise will not hesitate to take legal action against you.”
John didn’t listen, continuing to make statements about Cruise, but the actor did not pursue legal action.
These emails came to light as part of discovery for Cruise’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media.
In a video deposition for case that he sees media scrutiny as the price of fame. “Listen, I am a public person,” he said. “I absolutely understand … I tolerate a tremendous amount, and I’m very privileged to be able to have the life that I have, and I believe that.”
Cruise also said in the deposition that he was unaware of efforts by his counsel to leak stories to the press regarding Bauer’s alleged ties to Nazism and did not authorize such questionably ethical tactics.