A 2004 video clip from a pep talk that Tom Cruise gave at a Scientology meeting about creating "a new reality" has caused such a flap that it was pulled off YouTube on Wednesday.
By Thursday, the video had gone viral, and a Google search for "Tom Cruise YouTube Scientology reaction" was generating more than 8,000 hits.
The 9 1/2-minute tape, in which the theme song from "Mission: Impossible" plays in the background, shows the actor telling fellow members of the Church of Scientology to aggressively impose their sense of ethics on people they feel are in need of guidance.
"I won't hesitate to put ethics in on someone else," he says, "because I put it ruthlessly in on myself. And I respect that in others."
In perhaps providing insight into why, the following year, Cruise publicly chastised Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants, he says that Scientologists have an obligation to speak up about things they perceive as wrong.
"You can sit here and wish it were different. But there's that moment when you say, 'I have to do something about it because I can't live with myself' [if I don't]. You're either helping and contributing everything you can or you're not ...
"My opinion is that, look, you're either on board or you're not on board, OK? If you're on board, you're on board just like the rest of us -- period."
He also encourages his listeners to "confront and shatter suppression" of their views and to reread and recommit themselves to "KSW," a reference to "Keep Scientology Working," a controversial policy paper written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The tape was pulled off YouTube after parts of it were aired by TV and radio stations. The Church of Scientology declined to comment on either the tape or its removal. A statement posted by YouTube produced more questions than answers, being worded in a way that implied that the tape was posted by someone other than the church.
"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Church of Scientology International," the message said.
The videos appeared the same time of the release of Andrew Morton's book "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography," which has also been surrounded by controversy.
Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392