Tom Cruise's attorneys were so desperate to ensure a victory in his bitter defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media, RadarOnline.com has learned, that they launched an all-out campaign attempting to link the publishing group with Nazism and Hitler worship.
Only RadarOnline.com has the shocking in-depth investigation of how Cruise's counsel turned to this bizarre diversionary tactic -- and how they've done it many times before in service of Cruise in particular and Scientology as a whole.
Cruise's attorneys first made the disturbing accusations in a letter, obtained by Radar, that was sent by Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields, to the Bauer attorneys in December, 2012 as their defamation lawsuit began.
"This relentless defaming of Mr. Cruise and his Church is less surprising now that we have discovered Bauer's long and disgraceful record of religious hatred any bigotry," Fields wrote. "This appalling record goes back to the 30s and 40s, when Bauer Publishing was a fawning admirer of Hitler and the Nazis, publishing glamorous portraits of Der Führer … They also published vicious caricatures of Jews that were so popular in Germany at the time."
"Bauer's conduct didn't stop with the war's end," he continued. "Since then, it has distributed neo-Nazi magazines, as well as Nazi-themed pornography and has engaged in anti-semitic rants."
Fields insisted, "Bauer may disguise its present attacks on Cruise in In Touch and Life & Style magazines as mere tabloid-style gossip. But it's really a continuation of the same pattern of bigotry the company espoused under Hitler. Only now, it's focused on Scientologists rather than Jews and it's been reformatted to make money from young Americans, while indoctrinating them with Bauer's current messages of hate."
Bauer's counsel, Elizabeth A. McNamara, responded that the accusation was "bizarre" and not deserving of a "substantive response." But it didn't end there.
According to emails obtained by Radar, another of Cruise's attorneys, Matt Gelsor, fired off an email tip to Associated Press reporter Frank Jordan on November 6, 2012, offering up "information about a giant German publisher with old and current Nazi and neo-Nazi ties that have never been exposed."
"Bauer is openly publishing in Germany at least three magazines which whitewash the Nazi history and glorify or excuse Hitler, SS, and the Nazi party," Gelsor accused in a further email. "It's really hard to believe."
"Bauer was very active during the Nazi era, publishing a number of weekly magazines," he wrote. "Bauer has airbrushed the internet of any remnants of any of thousands of its magazines during the era, but we found one cover so far … and we'll find more."
Gelsor even went so far as to claim, "It is likely that concentration camp labor was used to publish these weekly magazines," admitting, "we have not uncovered any evidence of that yet."
"We are confident that it was no coincidence" that The Wrap suddenly decided to cover the topic, Bauer attorney McNamara wrote to Cruise's counsel.
Further, she insisted, "It strains credulity to imagine that your office did not play some role in instigating the reporting by The Wrap."
Soon, Bauer's lawyers filed a request for an order of protection to stop Cruise's attorneys from continuing their "calculated scheme to smear, intimidate and harass" their legal foe.
"Cruise (through his counsel) has from the start of this action sought to inject the notion that the Bauer family in Germany and its companies worldwide harbored long-standing Nazi and anti-Semitic sympathies," the request read. "That in more recent history has somehow translated into Scientology bias. Building on this false comparison Cruise (through his counsel) commenced a press campaign to expose the Bauer family's supposed old and current Nazi and neo-Nazi ties."
Despite exhaustive searches of more than 13,000 pages of emails from In Touch and Life & Style employees, as well as depositions and interviews with several -- many of whom are in fact Jewish -- "not a shred of evidence … has been uncovered to support this offensive and absurd theory," Bauer insisted, requesting that the court step in to stop Cruise's attorneys from continuing on with their Nazi investigation.
(Bauer eventually stopped publishing its WWII history magazine, Der Landser, in Germany, but Cruise's attorneys were unable to establish any evidence that the Bauers or the German arm of the firm ever influenced American titles.)
In a transcript of a Sept. 9 video deposition, Bauer attorneys asked him, "Are you aware as to whether your counsel had anything to do with the publication of this article from TheWrap.com?" He answered, "No."
The answer was no again to questions about whether he had authorized them to proceed with it, whether he had personally tried to generate press about Bauer being pro-Nazi, whether he authorized his counsel to generate such publicity, and whether he knew about or authorized Gelsor to leak the information to an AP reporter.
But Bauer lawyers received a different answer when they asked Cruise, "Reacting to negative press by insinuating an association with Nazism. This isn't the first time you've done this, is that right? … That either you or your representatives on your behalf … when someone has … attacked you negatively in the press in some manner, the reaction is to accuse them of being pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic or anti-religion?"
Cruise answered, "I don't know … Depends on the situation."
Indeed, Radar has learned that Cruise's attorney, Fields, has raised the spectre of Nazism many times when defending Cruise and the Church as a whole.
In 1997, he drafted an open letter to the New York Review of Books comparing the German government's regulation of Scientology as a cult, to behavior seen in "the early days of the Nazi regime."
"In the 1930s it was the Jews," Fields wrote. "Today it is the Scientologists."
German author Josef Joffre responded with an open letter of his own calling the comparison "obscene" and reminding him that the affronts suffered by 1930s German Jews were far worse than anything faced by any Scientologist.
But that was not the end of Fields' Nazist claims.
In 2008, he used the same tactic when responding to quotes from Dr. Drew Pinsky about Cruise and Scientology. The TV doctor had told Playboy, "Take a guy like Tom Cruise. Why would somebody be drawn into a cultish kind of environment like Scientology? To me, that's a function of a very deep emptiness and suggests serious neglect in childhood-- maybe some abuse, but mostly neglect."
Fields responded by saying, "Pinsky seems to be spewing the absurdity that all Scientologists are mentally ill. The last time we heard garbage like this was from noted Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels."
And in 2012, when Fields learned that The Hollywood Reporter was planning to write a report on Cruise and the Church, Fields fired off a letter saying, "Your suggestion that Tom may have to quit the Church to save his career sounds like Germany in the 1930s, when a man's professional career could be ended because of his religion."
Former Scientologists have claimed that the practice of using Nazism as a diversionary tactic is a common strategy utilized Scientology to deflect criticism.
One ex-Scientologist, Kim Baker, wrote in a blog post that in the 90s, when she was active in the Church, people criticizing Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard were frequently referred to as "Nazis."
"By immediately slapping the label 'Nazi' on to people just criticizing Scientology, it was a way of demonizing critics and way of making them into hateful people," Baker explains. "…the label 'Nazi' washed away any point that the critics had. It was a truly superb way of justifying a continued barrier towards REAL communication with the critics."
She called Scientologists' use of the term "Nazi" a "SYSTEMATIC and CONCERNED effort to attach this label to, in Scientology's eyes, KEY players in the conflict against them," calling it "a definite agenda."
Ironically, the term has also been turned against the Church as well. In 2007, respected German news magazine Der Spiegel raised concerns that the Church was "A Nazi-Like Organization" that spread its views "in the tradition of National Socialism."
This is just the latest shocking revelation from Radar's coverage of the Cruise lawsuit.
As previous reports have revealed, he also admitted to seeing daughter Suri only 10 days in the summer after his divorce from Katie Holmes, and admitted that Scientology was a factor in their split. For even more on Cruise's down and dirty lawsuit, stay tuned toRadarOnline.com.