On Wednesday Paramount Pictures announced the end of its business relationship with Tom Cruise – with Sumner Redstone, chief of Paramount parent company Viacom, blaming the actor’s conduct. Now, Cruise’s camp is firing back.
“Paramount has no credibility right now,” Richard Lovett, president of Creative Artists Agency (which represents Cruise), told The New York Times. “It is not clear who is running the studio and who is making the decisions.”
Cruise’s lawyer, Bert Fields, told the paper that Redstone’s comments about Cruise were “disgusting” and suggested that Redstone, who is 83, has “lost it completely, or he’s been given breathtakingly bad advice.”
Fields added, “That a mogul like Sumner Redstone could make a statement so vicious, so pompous, so petulant as that he didn’t want to make a deal with Tom Cruise because of his personal conduct – it tells you more about Sumner Redstone and Viacom than about Tom Cruise.”
Cruise, 44, has not commented publicly about the situation.
While some in Hollywood are speculating that Redstone sidestepped Paramount chairman Brad Grey and Viacom CEO Thomas E. Freston to spare them from having to break the bad news, Cruise’s producing partner, Paula Wagner, told The Times that the move, in her opinion, put Grey and Freston in a “lose-lose” situation.
“If you didn’t know anything about this, how effective are you at running a studio?” she said. “Would anyone want to work with management that’s ineffectual? And if you’re complicit in it, would anyone work with a studio that devours its own?”
(Wagner also told the paper she and Cruise were planning an equity-financing deal with two hedge funds for $100 million in credit. But Fields said, “I don’t think Tom has raised $100 million in a hedge fund. And I know nothing about any such thing. I think that’s just talk.”)
Responding to Fields’s claims about him, Redstone told The Times that “his opinion is in the minority” and that major Hollywood players such as David Geffen and Brian Grazer had called to congratulate him for his handling of the matter.
Alan C. Greenberg, a Wall Street big and longtime Viacom board member, defended Redstone, telling the paper, “Tom Cruise has gone nuts.”