Tom Cruise's COVID precautions rant wasn't as bad as it seems
Tom Cruise — Mr. Nice — was caught lambasting people on the set of his latest Mission Impossible movie because they were violating social distancing rules. It turned out, though, that he was yelling not because he was afraid for himself; he was yelling because he was worried that the movie set would be shut down, casting everyone out of work and losing him a lot of money, too. That was pretty righteous. What isn't righteous is the way Hollywood is getting a pass, while others are getting destroyed.
On the one-to-ten scale of things I care about, Tom Cruise floats along around one, or maybe a little less. So when I heard that he'd lost it on a movie set and was screaming at people for violating social distancing requirements, I simply assumed he was another panicked, narcissistic Hollywood type, terrified that "the little people" were going to kill him with their germs.
However, Cruise's concerns were a bit different. The latest Mission Impossible movie is getting filmed in England, a country with social-distancing rules so extreme that people may not have in their house anyone who is not already a member of the family:
Millions of people across Britain, including London, were placed into the strictest tier of COVID-19 restrictions Monday after a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus was identified.
Under the new rules announced in Parliament by British Health Minister Matt Hancock, more than 60% of England's population — mainly those living in the southeast of the country — were put under "Tier 3" regulations beginning Wednesday.
Tier 3 rules prohibit indoor visits with people from other households, closes restaurants for all but takeout and delivery service and shutters non-essential retail, including entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters and concert halls.
Cruise apparently went to tremendous effort and put a lot of his own money on the line to get permission to film. When he saw two crew members violating the social distancing rules, he was afraid the set would be shut down. That's why a lot of his rant is about the fact that violating social distancing rules can destroy people's livelihoods (and, unsaid, cost him some real money, too):
"They're back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us." "We are creating thousands of jobs, you m‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑."
"That's it. No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f‑‑‑‑‑‑ homes because our industry is shut down."
That's a decent rant and a lot better than anything I had assumed Cruise said.
Having said that, it tells you a lot about how governments view ordinary people that Hollywood keeps getting a pass. It's only been a week since Angela Marsden's viral video calling out the fact that while L.A.'s strict lockdown rules are destroying her Pineapple Hill Saloon, the mayor's office allowed a TV show to set up an entire tent canteen right next to her shuttered bar:
This is the most heartbreaking thing I have watched in 2020.— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 5, 2020
These people are monsters
In California, Hollywood got out the lobbyists to relieve it from the burden of that state's heavy pandemic restrictions:
The entertainment industry has been given extensive leeway to operate during the pandemic, even as California now faces a stay-at-home order. The state has deemed the television and movie production industry as "critical infrastructure" and has allowed Hollywood studios to continue filming projects, including in Los Angeles, which is facing the most strict lockdown order.
Sony Pictures, Walt Disney and Co., Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and the Motion Picture Association, the trade group for major Hollywood studios, deployed lobbyists to influence California state officials during the pandemic, disclosures show.
One of the biggest lobbyists is Jason Kinney, whose birthday Gov. Gavin Newsom was caught celebrating (indoors, with no masks and no social distancing) at the ritzy French Laundry. Clearly, some similar lobbying occurred in England so that Tom Cruise could get his film made.
One thing that 2020 has made remarkably clear is that we in the West do not live in a land of freedom and equality. As George Orwell presciently wrote, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." If you're rich or very leftist in the West, you are a free person. If you're working- or middle-class and have conservative leanings, consider yourself a Kulak and get ready to be destroyed.
So, Tom, you're sort of a good guy, but your tirade completely exposed the rot in a corrupt system.
Image: Tom Cruise on 60 Minutes Australia. YouTube screen grab.