The joke drew some audible gasps from those who understood its relevance
Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael left those in attendance at the awards in shock after a Scientology comment referencing Tom Cruise.
The comedian addressed the fact that last year Cruise, who has been a Scientologist member for 30 years, returned the Golden Globe trophies he won in the past amid a boycott of the awards’ organisers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).
The controversy surrounded an exposé into the lack of diversity within the HFPA, and a separate ethics scandal.
Midway through the ceremony on Sunday night, comic and ceremony host Carmichael came on stage ahead of the next award.
He said: “Backstage, I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned. Just a pitch, but I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.”
Queue a stunned reaction from the audience, punctured by some shocked gasps and applause, with Carmichael then introducing Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick co-stars Glen Powell and Jay Ellis to the stage, something that did not go unnoticed by viewers.
#GoldenGlobes host Jerrod Carmichael makes a dig at Scientology: "Backstage, I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned…I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige." https://t.co/m069JEKekW pic.twitter.com/fw25ng5nU2
— Variety (@Variety) January 11, 2023
Shelly is the famous wife of Scientologist leader David Miscavige. She rose to prominence after being seen alongside David in the 1970s, and became the First Lady of Scientology until she suddenly disappeared from the public eye in 2007.
Not much about her whereabouts has been made known despite reports referring to her as the “vanished” wife of David.
Meanwhile, her husband continues to serve as the Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center and Ecclesiastical Leader of the Scientology Religion, according to the official website.
Cruise is a known Scientologist, and has been a member for 30 years.
Zach Heltzel wrote on Twitter: “Jerrod making a Shelly Miscavige joke before introducing cast members from Top Gun…we love to see it,” while SlateCulture’s Sam Aadams added: “Lol Jerrod making a Shelly Miscavige joke to utter silence before introducing two actors from TOP GUN MAVERICK.”
Meanwhile, @catherinebouris added: “OK Jerrod Carmichael gets kudos from me for mentioning Shelly Miscavige right before introducing two of the Top Gun guys.”
And Mike Rinder, a former Scientology member who has written books about how he left the church, praised the comedian for raising awareness about Miscavige.
It’s time for #scientology to produce Shelly Miscavige. Thank you #jerrodcarmichael for raising the world’s awareness. @LeahRemini and others have been fighting for proof of her well-being for years. #WheresShelly #FreeShelly #GoldenGlobes
— Mike Rinder (@MikeRinder) January 11, 2023
Elsewhere during the ceremony, Evan Peters picked up the award for Best Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Television Motion Picture, whilst Angela Bassett made a little piece of history with her award win for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
The actor scooped the first major acting award ever for a Marvel Studios movie for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
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