Question: Is Tom Cruise’s foray into scientology a publicity stunt?
Davidi Hauslaib: He certainly subscribes to scientology. And you know whether you’re going to call it a religion or a cult, it’s clearly been questioned in and outside of Hollywood. I think it’s a very unfortunate turn of events for him. You know he had so much star power; could open movies to millions and millions of dollars. And whether that’s on the wane, or you know he’s never gonna recapture that is still up for debate. I don’t think we’ve seen enough yet. But I do think his antics are out of control. His relationship with Katie Holmes; and the, you know, sort of ongoing suspicion about their daughter; to the attacks on scientology from various biographers; you know it doesn’t seem like the best place to be for him and his career right now. He really came to be as this sort of Hollywood hunk and really was the epitome of a leading man in Hollywood, and now he’s a punch line. And that’s a very quick turn of events that happened very quickly.
Question: Why does scientology attract Hollywood’s leading men?
David Hauslaib: The church has made no secret of the fact that they aim to ingrain themselves in Hollywood and celebrity culture. They understand that these people can sort of be liaisons for their belief system, and use that to export it. When you have people who are so closely watched by American and the rest of the world – whether they’re drinking Diet Pepsi, or you know reading a new book, or happen to be a scientologist – that will impact some people. You can’t ride the subway here in New York without being approached to have, you know, a stress test by a group of scientologists. So I think it’s no secret, again, that the church has tried to use celebrity for its own purposes. As far as, you know, the celebrities themselves, I think one of the most entertaining rumors or suggestions is that scientology has gone after closeted homosexuals in the industry and offered them scientology as a means to, you know, cure themselves of their gay ways. And I think the rumors are fueled by the fact that there’s so much speculation around Tom Cruise, John Travolta, even Will Smith about their sexuality. So I think that’s one of the more amusing rumors. How much weight it . . . How much weight it carries and accuracy, who knows.
Question: Why are scientology and Hollywood so intertwined?
David Hauslaib: I think it’s a safe haven. And I think that’s what any . . . any organized . . . Any organization that calls itself a religion – whether we’re talking Christianity, Judaism, Islam – you know I think what religion offers is that safe haven and that sense of community. You know if we’re gonna call this an alternative religion, so be it. But I think at the core it’s offering its members, who happen to be very high profile people, the same sorts of things that most other religions would promise, you know, its attendees.