Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chief executive, has twitted on his views of evil. While various people of late have been citing Murdock with the same criticism after the eavesdropping scandal, Murdoch was moved to discuss evil with regard to recent complaints by Katie Holmes that she is being followed by what her friends call “Scientology goons” — reportedly raised fears that the Church might try to snatch the child of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Murdoch responded with “Scientology back in news. Very weird cult, but big, big money involved with Tom Cruise either number two or three in [hierarchy].” That must make work a bit awkward since Greta Van Susteren, one of his leading hosts, has been a prominent member of Scientology for decades. Her show “On The Record” airs every weekday.
Murdoch wrote “Watch Katie Holmes and Scientology story develop. Something creepy, maybe even evil, about these people.”
He later stood his ground and referred to Scientology’s reputation for harassment: “Since Scientology tweet hundreds of attacks. Expect they will increase and get worse and maybe threatening. Still stick to my story.” However, when pressed on his view of Mormonism, he said “Mormonism a mystery to me, but Mormons certainly not evil.”
The Katie Holmes stories raise an interesting possible legal issue. Scientology has often been accused of harassment, including following reporters and critics. There is nothing illegal in following a person in public absent a charge of stalking or a court order. The latter would require some greater something than a suspicion. Since both Cruise and Holmes were often accompanied by Church “handlers,” a court order could present problems for Cruise in visiting his daughter etc. When men in a white SUV were confronted by bystanders in front of Holmes’ building and asked what they were doing, one responded “waiting for a bus.” New York police came by and ran the plates of the Tennessee vehicle and then left.
It raises a practical problem for Holmes if these are Church members but the Church continues to change vehicles and individuals.
As for Fox, Murdoch’s comments could make the annual party a bit chilly with Van Susteren and her husband John Coale have long been leading Scientologist members and closely aligned with the Church. Such comments could be cited if there are later employment issues with Van Susteren. Obviously, Murdoch has a free speech right to call Scientology a “cult,” a view shared by others including some countries. However, he is also the ultimate boss of Van Susteran at Fox’s parent company. It does not exactly make for a friendly work environment when you come up for contract renewal.