Bauer Media editors worried that they would get sued by Tom Cruise if they wrote about him turning his back on his daughter because of Scientology, court papers revealed this week.
They got sued anyway.
Cruise is suing Bauer Media Group, which publishes In Touch and Life and Style magazines, for $50 million after a 2012 report that he had abandoned his daughter, Suri. In court documents filed Tuesday, Cruise’s legal team submitted emails between Bauer employees that discussed how to work Cruise’s religion into their reports.
“We would get sued if we said he was turning his back on Suri because she’s not Scientology,” editor Mark McGarry worried in an internal email filed as part of the lawsuit. “Maybe in Connor [Cruise’s son] part u [sic] can subtly note that he’s embraced Scientology and leave it to readers to connect the dots.”
Another editor replied that it “seems like a stretch” to connect Cruise’s relationship with his daughter to Scientology after Jessica Finn, a senior reporter for In Touch who also contributes to Life and Style, spoke with a former Scientologist about the possibility that Cruise would not be able to see Suri anymore since she was not being raised as a Scientologist.
The former Scientologist, Brian Canup, told Finn that young children are rarely considered “suppressive people” and thus off limits. He added that there was a possibility that Cruise was being cast as a victim of ex-wife Katie Holmes‘ desire to keep him away from his daughter in an effort to smear Holmes for leaving the religion.
“You think this might be his attempt to paint himself as somehow victimized?” Finn asked Canup in the email.
“Absolutely. And the church specifically is extremely good at doing that,” Canup replied. “By claiming oh this is … anyone who is critical of Scientology is just a religious bigot … The organization has almost a 50 year history of painting itself in the victim light.”
Cruise’s lawyers have accused Bauer of printing libelous statements about Cruise, claiming that the company discriminates against minority religions based on some of its publications’ Nazi sympathies, a story TheWrap broke in February. Cruise’s lawyers contend that by proving Bauer has a history of anti-Semitism through publications such as Der Landser and Geschichte & Wissen, which TheWrap highlighted in its own report, it will show the publisher has an intolerance toward minority religions in general.
In the emails, Finn’s editors ultimately decided it would be “tricky” to work the Scientology connection in.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report