Tom Cruise's Covid rules 'meltdown' was a sign of someone trying to do their best in difficult times – Jim Duffy

One cannot have failed to notice how a certain red-top newspaper took great delight in plastering Tom Cruise all over its front page for two days in a row.

Tom Cruise wears a Covid face mask as he greets fans during a break from shooting Mission Impossible 7 on Rome's Fori Imperiali avenue in October (Picture: Andrew Medichini/AP)
Tom Cruise wears a Covid face mask as he greets fans during a break from shooting Mission Impossible 7 on Rome's Fori Imperiali avenue in October (Picture: Andrew Medichini/AP)

Gosh, what has Tom done that he deserves the “splash”? It must be groundbreaking, earth-shattering, cataclysmic news of monumental dimensions.

Has Tom done something so big, so awesome or so wrong that he needs to be this week’s poster boy? Well, no, I’m afraid. Tom Cruise this week simply had a Covid-19 work-related meltdown and used the F-word rather a lot. That’s it, nothing to see here really. Or is there?

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My wife will tell you I’m a big fan of Tom Cruise. I love his movies and watch them several times a year on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I guess it all started for me with Risky Business and Top Gun when I was in my late teens.

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Personal life is personal

He was the hot and talented actor of my time and it has been great to watch him and his acting mature. I think my favourite is A Few Good Men, but Edge of Tomorrow and Mission Impossible 2 are big contenders.

He can do serious movies like Born on the Fourth of July and light-hearted stuff that essentially makes him look even cooler than he is. So, acting-wise he’s in my top ten actors of all time. But, it takes more than that to make a man right?

His personal life is exactly that – his personal life. In other words as long as he isn’t a friend of Jeffrey Epstein, like Prince Andrew most definitely was, then his private life is his business.

He has gone through a few marriages and has adopted kids along the way. He has been pretty front and centre with the Church of Scientology, which has had some interesting press.

But perhaps that is his way of keeping and maintaining some sanity in a Hollywood world where so many stars lose the plot. Just look at Johnny Depp, who made the “splash” in the papers for all the wrong reasons recently.

Hollywood has a way of consuming so many talented actors and then spewing them out its rear-end looking all too human and frail. But, Tom Cruise has, so far, done OK. As I said, his private life is his business. Now to the matter in hand.

What ‘meltdown’?

Completing any type of work against the background of Covid is not easy. Whether one is a waitress looking after those doing lunch at a restaurant in Dundee, a cab driver in Edinburgh or a cabin crew member with British Airways, having to deal with Covid working conditions is tough.

There is always that fear that one can do or say the wrong thing. Companies have put in place new guidelines for staff that each must adhere to. Then there is the ever-changing picture of tiers and lockdowns and this and that. It must be hard to keep up at times. Add in the worry of perhaps bringing home the virus to a loved one and a lot of this can impact our brains, psyche and overall well-being.

Hence the need to pay attention to mental well-being now and after this whole bloody pandemic. So, those going to work must be worried, but also have a duty and responsibility to do their best to negate any potential exposure to Covid.

After all, if employers put guidelines and restrictive behaviour in place, they are complying with law and best practice – right? So, why not “screw the nut” and just do one’s job as safely as possible – for the benefit of colleagues, customers and the bottom line. And that is why I support Tom Cruise as he had a very public meltdown. Public meltdown? Maybe that is pushing things a little too far.

He was at work talking (shouting) at staff. Then someone, with lots of balls, passed a recording of Tom losing the plot to a newspaper. Hero or coward? You decide. Anyhow, knowing how professional Tom Cruise is, he and his production company will have put in place tight Covid restrictions for all those working on his latest film.

Trying his best

Simply getting permissions to film all over Europe is not easy in a pandemic. One has to sign – in blood – that one will be lawful and mindful on looking after staff and those around the vicinity. So, it’s no wonder Tom was irate when he discovered members of his staff not toeing the line.

Imagine this headline: “Tom Cruise’s cast and crew spread Covid as restrictions are flouted.” You get my point right? He would have been crucified for rampaging about Europe as a money-grabbing capitalist and Scientologist, not giving one iota of concern for his team, should he and his production company have been slipshod with the rules. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why he lost the plot, shouted and swore at a couple of his staff who, in his opinion, were breaking them.

Listening to the verbiage that emits from Tom’s brain during the incident, one can see immediately how concerned he is and the strain that Covid has had on him and his endeavours to maintain jobs and help people pay their bills. I’m sure many business people who are experiencing this pandemic the same way are just as stressed as he is and at times it must show. He and they are only humans after all.

There you go then, cards on the table, peel back the red-top newspaper headlines and it exposes a man trying his best and feeling let down by others on his team. Knowing him as I think I do, he will privately apologise to them for swearing and he probably should.

But, then he will move on as the professional he is and keep the film industry economy going. And that should be the key headline.

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