‘I said what I said’: Tom Cruise stands by that infamous COVID-19 safety rant

Tom Cruise wears a black face mask and gray vest
Actor Tom Cruise on the set of the latest “Mission: Impossible” movie.
(Marco Ravagli / Barcroft Media)

Where were you when audio leaked of Tom Cruise unleashing an expletive-ridden rant on the crew of the seventh “Mission: Impossible” movie?

In December, a shocking soundbite of the Oscar-nominated actor berating the “Mission: Impossible” production for supposedly violating COVID-19 safety protocols divided the internet.

On Monday, Cruise finally addressed the viral moment, doubling down on his explosive reaction to an incident in which crew members reportedly broke social distancing guidelines while gathering around a computer on set.

“I said what I said,” the action star told Empire magazine in a recent interview. “There was a lot at stake at that point.”


After Cruise — who produces and stars in the “Mission: Impossible” films — was caught on tape threatening to fire his employees, some praised him for taking COVID-19 regulations seriously, while others saw his aggressive retaliation as an abuse of power.

For what it’s worth, Cruise clarified to Empire that he wasn’t shouting in front of his “entire crew,” whom he asked to leave the set while he reprimanded “select people” for their behavior.

In leaked audio, Tom Cruise is heard berating the crew of the next ‘Mission: Impossible’ film over COVID-19 precautions. George Clooney understands why.

Dec. 16, 2020

Cruise admitted that, in the moment, he became “very emotional” at the prospect of production on “Mission: Impossible” shutting down again after it had already been delayed twice — when COVID-19 first hit Europe and then after filming resumed because of an outbreak on set.

“All those emotions were going through my mind. I was thinking about the people I work with, and my industry,” he told Empire. “And for the whole crew to know that we’d started rolling on a movie was just a huge relief.”

“And here we are, continuing to film,” he added, before joking that he’s available for “Zoom parties and kids’ parties also, you know!”


Tom Cruise’s rant at crew members who violated COVID-19 safety measures on the set of “Mission: Impossible 7” was profane and a little over the top. But he said what many of us are thinking. All the time.

Dec. 16, 2020

Several people weighed in on Cruise’s polarizing outburst last year, including George Clooney, who agreed with his fellow actor’s sentiment but said he would have handled the situation differently “in a position of power.”

For those who don’t have Cruise’s harsh words seared into their brain, here’s a little excerpt to jog your memory:

“I am beyond your apologies,” he says in the recording. “We are not shutting this f— movie down. Is it understood? If I see it again, you’re f— gone. And so are you. So you’re gonna cost him his job. If I see it on the set, you’re gone and you’re gone. That’s it. Am I clear?

“Do you understand what I want? Do you understand the responsibility that you have? Because I will deal with your reason, and if you can’t be reasonable, and I can’t deal with your logic, you’re fired. That’s it.”

Cruise confirmed to Empire that the latest “Mission: Impossible” project has not postponed production since the incident and is on schedule to arrive in theaters May 2022.

Hollywood players continue to back away from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., with Warner Bros. joining Netflix and Amazon Studios in cutting ties.

May 10, 2021

The veteran stuntman also made headlines this week by returning his three Golden Globes trophies amid mounting criticism of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which organizes the star-studded awards show. Cruise won Golden Globes for his performances in “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Magnolia.”

On Monday, NBC announced it would not broadcast the annual ceremony next year following a watershed Times investigation that exposed widespread corruption within the HFPA — which, as of February, included no Black members.

“We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform,” the network said in a statement.

“However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

With the group behind the Golden Globes in crisis, here’s a playbill of the key actors in the drama that threatens the existence of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

May 2, 2021

Revelations from The Times’ reporting also cast a shadow on this year’s telecast, during which the HFPA vowed to diversify its membership.

“Tonight, while we celebrate the work of artists from around the globe, we recognize we have our own work to do,” said Helen Hoehne, the HFPA’s vice president, in February.

“Just like in film and television, representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”