Watch: George Clooney reacts to Tom Cruise’s COVID-19 rant
By Raechal Shewfelt
The Michael Clayton star, a leading man who, like Cruise, produces many of his projects, told Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday that, while he would have handled the situation differently, he understands why Cruise went off.
“Well, he didn’t overreact because it is a problem,” Clooney told Stern. “You know, I have a friend who's an AD on another TV show who just had the almost exact same thing happen with not quite as far out a response."
Read more: Was Tom Cruise’s rant justified?
In the recording, which both Variety and the New York Times confirmed with sources close to the film, Cruise tells crew members that, if they violate protocols again, they will be fired. The Sun, which initially published the recording, said employees standing too close together at a computer sparked the tirade.
“If I see you do it again you’re f****** gone,” Cruise could be heard saying. “We are the gold standard. They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. Because they believe in us and what we’re doing. I’m on the phone with every f****** studio at night, insurance companies, producers and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherf*******. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”
Cruise then refused to accept any apologies, telling the crew members to save them for people losing their homes because the industry is shut down. While Mission: Impossible 7 itself halted production in February, because of the virus, Cruise insisted it would not happen again.
Watch: Tom Cruise rants at crew members over COVID protocol breach
A rep for Cruise did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
The part that Clooney disagreed with is the way the incident was handled. He wouldn’t have done it “that big”, although he noted that context is missing from the recording. The listener can’t tell, for example, when Cruise was recorded or how many times he’d addressed the issue in the past.
Read more: The celebrity outbursts caught on tape
“I understand why he did it,” Clooney said. “He’s not wrong at all about that. You know, I just, I don’t know that I would have done it quite that personally, but I don’t know all the circumstances so maybe he’d [done] it 10 or 15 times before.”
Clooney doesn’t think the public scolding is helpful, but he added that “everybody has their own style.”
“You’re in a position of power and it’s tricky, right?” Clooney said. “You do have a responsibility for everybody else and he’s absolutely right about that.
“And, you know, if the production goes down, a lot of people lose their jobs. People have to understand that and have to be responsible. It’s just not my style to, you know, to take everybody to task that way.”