Actor Tom Cruise has ignited a social media firestorm -- and a PR nightmare -- by making a statement that has been interpreted by some as offensive to members of the U.S. military. In full context, it appears Cruise agreed that being away from his daughter on location shoots is as "brutal" as what soldiers deal with being deployed in Afghanistan.
The quotes, obtained by TMZ, were included in legal documents from the actor's $50 million libel suit against a magazine publisher who claimed he abandoned his daughter, Suri.
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Tom Cruise Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Cruise allegedly claimed his location shoots feel just like serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan when discussing his daughter.
"Now, your counsel has publicly equated your absence from Suri for these extended periods of time as being analogous to someone fighting in Afghanistan. Are you aware of that?" Cruise was asked.
"I didn't hear the Afghanistan, but that's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal," he said, according to the documents.
Here is how TMZ, which first reported on the disposition, framed Cruise's comments:
First, the Middle East -- Tom says his location shoots are just like serving a tour in Afghanistan, "That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal."
The gossip website does not mention that Cruise's counsel made the Afghanistan comparison or that the actor was specifically asked about leaving his daughter.
Even with the full context, some are still understandably unhappy with Cruise comparing being away on a movie shoot to being deployed in Afghanistan. Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, for example, long for loved ones they realize they may never see again. That's not something Cruise has to deal with.
Cruise also suggested his physical training is more intense than a "sprinter for the Olympics."
"There is difficult physical stamina and preparation. Sometimes I've spent months, a year, and sometimes two years preparing for a single film," the actor said, according to the documents. "A sprinter for the Olympics, they only have to run two races a day. When I'm shooting, I could potentially have to run 30, 40 races a day, day after day."
In a seemingly unrelated note, Cruise revealed that he's only flown on a commercial plane once in the last four years -- because he had no other choice.
Here are a few examples of how actual members of the military (and a military mom) are responding to Cruise's comments (Warning! Strong language):
@TomCruise hey tom I served in the army and I'm disgusted to read you think your movie shoots are like Afghanistan. Really??? You're sick!!— Alex Timmons (@TimmonsAlex) November 9, 2013
@TomCruise douchebag. Comparing your job as a actor to a military member serving in Afghanistan. I'm a military mom & u make me sick— Susie (@sjbuckeyes) November 9, 2013
Then there's this floating around on Facebook within the military community, CNN's Jake Tapper noted on Friday:
For the full context, read some of the disposition from the case via the New York Post below:
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the full context of Cruise's statements.