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Tom Cruise’s Rant to Crewmembers Breaking COVID Safety Rules Divides Internet

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  • In an audio clip obtained by The Sun, actor Tom Cruise can be heard yelling at crewmembers on the set of “Mission: Impossible 7” for not following COVID-19 guidelines. Cruise said their guidelines are a “gold standard” for Hollywood and that the industry as a whole could be impacted by this film. 
  • In the over three-minute clip, Cruise says, “They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us!…You can tell it to the people that are losing their fucking homes because our industry is shut down…That’s what I sleep with every night. The future of this fucking industry.”
  • The clip sparked debate online, as some thought it was completely unjustifiable and inappropriate for Cruise to yell at people on set in this way. 
  • Others agreed with him and found catharsis in a powerful figure taking COVID-19 and the economic devastation it has caused seriously, especially since the pandemic has left thousands in the field without work. 

Tom Cruise’s Rant Goes Viral

“Mission: Impossible” star Tom Cruise yelled at crewmembers who were not following coronavirus guidelines on the set of the seventh installment of the film series, according to now-viral audio featuring an expletive-laden rant that has drawn both praise and criticism online. 

The over three-minute clip was obtained and published first by The Sun on Monday and other major outlets have since confirmed its validity. It is unclear when exactly Cruise lashed out, but The Sun says it happened after two crewmembers were standing close to each other while looking at a computer. This violates the social distancing rules for the production, which is currently taking place in the United Kingdom. 

With a raised voice and colorful vocabulary, Cruise did not mince words when he told those workers that if they were to break the rules again, they would be let go from the set. He said that “Mission: Impossible 7” should serve as the “gold standard” for Hollywood right now and claimed that the success of the industry as a whole is riding on the success of this movie. 

“They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us! Because they believe in us and what we’re doing!” Cruise said. “I’m on the phone with every fucking studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs you motherfuckers.” 

“You can tell it to the people that are losing their fucking homes because our industry is shut down,” he added. “It’s not going to put food on their table or pay for their college education.” 

The pandemic first caused production of the movie to shut down in February while filming was taking place in Italy. It picked up again in September, filming in Italy, Norway and the U.K. Reports indicate it had to briefly pause in October because of a positive case. 

According to The Sun, Cruise has been taking safety precautions seriously and wears a mask on set. He is allegedly trying to prevent future shutdowns and is on the constant lookout for anyone who might bend the rules. 

“That’s what I sleep with every night. The future of this fucking industry… We are not shutting this fucking movie down,” he continued

“If I see it again you’re fucking gone, and you are, so you’re going to cost him his job. If I see it on the set you’re gone and you’re gone.” 

Internet Reacts to Rant

This is far from the first time Cruise one of Hollywood’s most bankable and controversial stars has lost his temper, but this rant struck a chord with those who found his anger to be cathartic, as well as those who thought it was out of line.  

“I understand that we are in a pandemic and the stakes, both physically and professionally, are high, but that outburst is not OK.,” wrote NPR’s Aisha Harris. “You can translate the urgency of your message without going full-on Bale.”

Daily Beast writer Marlow Stern published a piece titled: “Stop Praising Tom Cruise for Berating His Crew.” 

“The Hollywood superstar — and leading Scientologist — was merely punching down and putting on a show,” Stern wrote. 

The piece then dove into an in-depth exploration of his relationship with the Church of Scientology, the disturbing actions Cruise has possibly okayed, and the power dynamics within the system. Through that lense, as well as the intensity of his rant, it argues that both his tirade and any attempt to defend it are unjustifiable. 

Others, including those who may not necessarily support Cruise or his ties to the Church, admired his frustration. While many powerful and wealthy people seem to not understand the loss and economic hardship people have suffered throughout the pandemic, Cruise expressed that he did and that he wanted to be part of putting that suffering to an end. 

“I don’t like rich people yelling at people who are less powerful than they are and I’m not wild about him in general, BUT if you’re going to yell at people, make it about something worthwhile,” wrote NPR writer and host Linda Holmes. 

His message is effective at being both self-interested (I don’t want us to shut this movie down) and community-minded (people are counting on us),” she added. “And weirdly, I think finding that balance in public messaging has been hard.”

“Tom Cruise is right and he should say it,” said Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson. 

Others said that Cruise should deliver this speech to anti-maskers. Some also thought this kind of anger should be a more standard response to those who break safety protocols right now. 

“If only more people saw the bigger picture that Tom is highlighting here,” wrote critic and podcaster John Rocha. 

COVID Impact on Film Industry

That big picture is striking. In the U.S. alone, 300,000 people have died from COVID-19. Even more people have suffered from joblessness and other financial hardships because of the pandemic.

Over 19 million people in the United States are receiving some kind of unemployment benefits. The entertainment industry was among the many fields hit hard by the coronavirus, though estimations on how many people were impacted vary. According to the LA Times, in California alone, 284,000 creative jobs were lost in the pandemic. This includes jobs in entertainment, digital media and art, and fashion. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees estimates that around 120,000 jobs in Hollywood have been lost by members of their union.

Productions are resuming, but many have to shut down due to outbreaks on set. Filming for “Batman” halted when star Robert Pattinson tested positive, Olivia Wilde’s latest flick starring Harry Styles was forced to shut down, and Aubrey Plaza recently revealed that while filming “Happiest Season,” Kristen Stewart and several others caught coronavirus, leading to a pause. The same issue has occurred for television productions. The sets of “The Flash,” “The Witcher,” “Mr. Mayor” and two separate Real Housewives franchises have had to close because of COVID-19 cases, and the list goes on. 

The idea that the virus is spreading on sets means that less people will be hired to work on them so crews can remain smaller. It also means that studios might send fewer projects into production right now, meaning the mass unemployment will only last longer. 

The pandemic has put the entertainment in a vulnerable and fragile place for many reasons. 

Since employment in film is rare right now, some in the industry supported Cruise’s choice to lash out against those who took it for granted.

“Anyone lucky enough to be working right now who can’t follow safety guidelines is spitting in the face of ALL the colleagues who have been unemployed since March, had to sell their homes, move back in with their parents etc,” wrote actor Roger Clark. 

See what others are saying: (The Sun) (IndieWire) (Variety)

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Joe Rogan Says Grimes Did Not Give Dave Chappelle COVID-19

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  • Comedian Dave Chappelle is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and his remaining shows in Austin, Texas have been canceled.
  • The news comes just days after Chappelle was photographed with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
  • “Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” Rogan wrote on Instagram Friday. “Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”

Chappelle Tests Positive

Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine, according to one of his representatives.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, that rep also confirmed that he is currently asymptomatic and has canceled all of his remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.

“Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter,” the statement read.

“Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus,” it continued.

Joe Rogan Speaks Out After He Was Photographed With Chappelle

Two of the remaining Austin shows were supposed to include fellow comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan took to Instagram Friday morning to announce that they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Still, many fans had questions about Rogan’s current state of health. The news of Chappelle’s positive test comes just days after he was photographed maskless with Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, musician Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.

Since Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Musk, recently had COVID, many were concerned that she may have exposed the group. Others wondered if Chappelle may have spread it.

Rogan eventually updates his Instagram caption to dismiss the ideas.

“Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” he wrote.“Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (AP News)

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Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention

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  • In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
  • The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
  • The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.

Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers

Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.

In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.

Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.

When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.

Success Amid Growth of Competition

The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix. 

Still, it reached a massive milestone. 

“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”

Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.

“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”

Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers

Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.

An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service. 

Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles. 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Paramount+ To Launch March 4

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  • ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year. 
  • The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection. 

Paramount+ Gets Launch Date

ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year. 

It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.

More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news. 

“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”

State of the Streaming Wars

Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”

The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television. 

ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Deadline) (CNBC)

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