Some Hollywood stars like to lend their names to noble causes. Other stars, more down to earth, prefer using their celebrity to pad their bank accounts. From Huffington Post, an exceptionally shabby example of the latter:
Critics are calling out Hollywood star Tom Cruise this week for praising Walmart as “a role model” that has “improved women’s lives around the world” during the retailer’s shareholder meeting earlier in June, according to MSNBC…
…The claim drew criticism from some activists, who called Cruise’s comments out of touch with reality. Cruise “didn’t really tell the truth about what happens on a day-to-day basis,” one activist told MSNBC. Others took to social media to criticize the actor, accusing him of being a “tool,” among other things…
…Walmart has spent years fending off discrimination suits from women who say they’re not treated equally at the company. About 2,000 women claimed in a class action suit last year that the retail giant discriminated against them when it came to pay and promotions. An earlier lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which determined female workers nationwide didn’t have standing to sue as a class.
Some working mothers at Walmart also have decried the store’s pay, saying they have to rely on government assistance to make ends meet.
The comments also come at a time when Walmart’s facing criticism for not signing on to the Bangladesh Safety Accord, a deal aimed at promoting safer working conditions in Bangladesh garment industry. The agreement was forged after a Bangladesh factory collapse killed more than 1,000 workers earlier this year — including many women, who predominantly perform that kind of low-wage work.
The speech from Hollywood’s most diminutive leading man was to show gratitude to Walmart for stocking DVDs of his lousy movies. It’s unclear whether Walmart wrote the speech, or if Cruise knew how large a lie he was telling about Walmart’s women employees, or about the extent of Walmart’s connection to the Bangladesh disaster, or about similar workplace disasters in U.S. history — e.g, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in 1911 — that woke up American workers to the necessity of unionizing.
Maybe someone will make a movie about the Triangle fire and cast Cruise in the same role he always plays — the aging spoiled brat who learns the hard way that he’s “out of touch with reality.” Not that this lesson could deter Cruise from behaving badly. As long as he kisses corporate ass, he can invent his own reality and ignore everyone else’s.