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Why did Tom Cruise return his Golden Globes? Jerrod Carmichael’s Tom Cruise joke explained

Tom Cruise attends the Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation screening
Tom Cruise was at the center of one of Jerrod Carmichael’s Golden Globes jokes after he returned his three Golden Globe awards. Pic credit: ©ImageCollect.com/StillsPress

While hosting the 80th Golden Globes Awards, Jerrod Carmichael took aim at everyone from Will Smith to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) with his jokes. However, the joke that received the most mixed reception at the Tuesday night ceremony was aimed at Tom Cruise, and his three returned Golden Globes awards.

During the show, Carmichael came on stage with three Golden Globe statues in his arms. He told the crowd they were the three awards Cruise had returned in 2021.

He then suggested that they “take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.” An awkward silence followed his joke, followed by sparse laughter and applause.

The reaction was likely in response to the brutality of the joke. For those unfamiliar with the story, Cruise won a total of three Golden Globes over the years for his performances in Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, and Magnolia.

However, in 2021, he returned all three awards to protest HFPA. He was one of many actors who retaliated against the organization after it became steeped in controversy for its lack of diversity, and major members of the organization stepped down under accusations of racism and sexual assault.

The controversy was so significant that NBC opted not to air the 2022 Golden Globes. Hence, it wasn’t the fact that Cruise protested against the Golden Globes that drew Carmichael’s joke, but rather his ties to Scientology.

Jerrod Carmichael’s Shelly Miscavige and Tom Cruise joke explained

Cruise is one of the Church of Scientology’s most high-profile members. His outspoken support of Scientology has drawn concern given the Church’s many controversies, including allegations of abuse and mistreatment from church members.

What has also attracted attention is Cruise’s closeness to Scientology leader David Miscavige. The pair’s friendship even extended to David serving as best man at Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes.

Meanwhile, Cruise also fostered a friendship with David’s wife, Shelly. While Cruise has denied the claims, rumors have alleged that Shelly tried to help arrange relationships for Cruise and also tried to help him convert his girlfriend, Penelope Cruz, to Scientology.

However, Shelly has not been seen publicly since 2007. Given her absence, two missing persons reports have been filed on her behalf.

After each investigation, the police stated that they had located her alive and well and that she merely wished to remain out of the public spotlight. However, former Scientology members like Leah Remini have questioned her whereabouts.

While the Church insists that Miscavige is not missing, many have questioned if it is a cover-up. Her sudden and perplexing disappearance has sparked conspiracy theories and vows from Remini to find Miscavige at all costs.

Leah Remini responded to Carmichael’s joke

Carmichael mocked Cruise for giving up his three Golden Globes to protest a controversial organization, all while continuing to support the controversial Church of Scientology. The actor was not present at the Golden Globes to hear the joke, despite Top Gun: Maverick being nominated for several awards.

While Carmichael’s joke got mixed reactions, it received gratitude from Leah Remini. She took to Twitter to reshare the scene and thanked Carmichael for raising awareness about Shelly.

Remini is an ex-Scientology member who has become an outspoken opponent of the Church. She has written a book and released a documentary exposing the Church of Scientology and documenting the stories of fellow ex-Scientologists.

For several years now, she has been attempting to unravel the mystery of Miscavige’s disappearance. In a lengthy Twitter feed, she alleged that members are forbidden from questioning Shelly’s whereabouts in the Church and that the LAPD officers in charge of investigating and closing Shelly’s missing person investigations were avid supporters of the Church.

Remini also noted that she first noticed Shelly’s suspicious absence at Cruise’s wedding to Holmes. While David was present, Shelly was not, despite her being her husband’s shadow and constantly accompanying him to events.

Cruise has not responded to Carmichael’s joke, nor has he ever publicly addressed the disappearance of Shelly.

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