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Tom Cruise drops his disastrous suit against Bauer Media and its magazines

InTouchCoverThe Hollywood Reporter broke the news today: Tom Cruise has finally given up on his dumb lawsuit against In Touch and Life & Style magazines.

He was seeking $50 million in damages because the magazines had claimed that Cruise had “abandoned” his daughter Suri after his 2012 divorce to Katie Holmes. But then, after a tough year of discovery, it turned out that the magazines had done their homework, and the facts showed that Cruise had only seen his daughter a handful of times over a 110-day period.

After that, any chance of convincing a jury that the magazines had lied about Cruise with malice were pretty much nil. So, no big surprise that he gave up the suit. It only brought him waves of additional media laughter based on some of the things he’d said in a deposition that was put into the court file.

So why did he even pursue this loser of a suit, wasting lots of money and only embarrassing himself further, when there was little chance of victory to begin with?

We asked Marty Rathbun, the former top Scientology official whose job, at one time, was to counsel Cruise. What was Tom thinking?

“Censorship through punishment is a major point of agreement between Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology,” Rathbun told us by phone today. “I think he was litigious before he got into Scientology, and I think it’s one of the points of agreement that attracted him to the cult. I think you’d agree that’s a central tenet of Scientology, to censor through punishment. And I’m not just talking about their legal strategies but also their ethics policies. And I think that lawsuit demonstrates that.”

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Yes, it’s well established that Hubbard encouraged suing people he disagreed with, not necessarily to win, but merely to make an enemy miserable.

Cruise’s attorney, Bert Fields, tries to give the impression that Cruise is making the decisions in these matters, but we asked Rathbun how likely it was that Scientology leader David Miscavige would have been counseling the actor.

Rathbun pointed out how close the two are reported to be.

“I’ve described how they were becoming joined at the hip when I got out [in 2004]…Mike Rinder has said it only got worse after I left. So yeah, they’d be consulting on all of this,” he says.

“They consult each other on the color of their underwear, let alone a lawsuit.”

Rathbun says Cruise’s aggressive strategy reminded him of Scientology’s tactics in the past. “It’s like the whole TIME magazine thing,” he says, referring to Scientology’s $416 million lawsuit over a 1991 article that called Scientology “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,” which was eventually dismissed.

“Even though we spent $10 million over six years, we considered it a great victory because we heard they’d spent $6 million and had been dropped by their insurance carrier. Miscavige would brag, ‘They’ve treated us with kid gloves ever since then.’ And he was right.”

We also talked to Mike Rinder, Scientology’s former top spokesman, who also handled legal affairs for the church before he defected in 2007.

“Tom Cruise is following the David Miscavige strategy of legal handlings, which is, if I say or think something, it makes it true. Therefore I’m going to barge ahead in court on the basis that whatever I’m saying is right. Eventually, reality sinks in and proves that what he thought in his head really wasn’t right after all,” Rinder told us.

“It’s the way Miscavive has conducted litigation, that he’s got enough money to keep hiring lawyers and litigating, and if he does that, he thinks eventually he’ll win. But it just doesn’t work that way.

“It’s a comeuppance for the arrogant,” he added.

UPDATE: TMZ is reporting that the two sides worked out the following language to end the suit… “Bauer Publishing, ‘In Touch’ and ‘Life and Style’ never intended to communicate that Tom Cruise had cut off all ties and abandoned his daughter Suri and regret if anyone drew that inference from anything they published.”

If Bauer also paid Cruise anything, the amount is in a sealed settlement which may never become public. We’d be surprised if they paid him anything, however, after the facts that came out in discovery. He’s fortunate that he at least got this tepid apology out of Bauer.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on December 20, 2013 at 17:55

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