These motorcycles belong to Tom Cruise and David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology. Miscavige's is in the center; Cruise's Honda Rune is on the left and his Triumph Rocket is on the right. Those luscious, deep red tones were custom-painted by Scientology drones earning less than $1 an hour.
One of the many commendable things about Lawrence Wright's recent lengthy investigation into Scientology in the New Yorker is an interview with John Brousseau, a former member of Scientology's Sea Org who claims to have been drafted to do what amounts to slave labor for Tom Cruise. Brousseau, who is apparently quite handy, told Wright that he nickel-plated and custom painted two of Cruise's motorcycles at Cruise's request, and that he gutted and customized Cruise's favorite Ford Excursion, all while being paid $50 a week as a grunt in Scientology's brownshirt militia. The painted bikes and SUV were presented to Cruise as a gift from Miscavige.
The Church of Scientology and Cruise both denied it, saying Brousseau merely "consulted" on the projects and that the church never spent any money on Cruise:
Both Cruise's attorney and the church deny Brousseau's account. Cruise's attorney says that "the Church of Scientology has never expended any funds to the personal benefit of Mr. Cruise or provided him with free services." Tommy Davis says that these projects were done by contractors, and that Brousseau acted merely as an adviser. He also says, "None of the Church staff involved were coerced in any way to assist Mr. Cruise. Church staff, and indeed Church members, hold Mr. Cruise in very high regard and are honored to assist him.
Well, luckily, Brousseau took pictures. And he's written up a detailed account, full of photos, explaining that Cruise and the church are lying, and that he and other Sea Org members worked slavishly to make sure Tom Cruise had a private airplane hangar with giant signs and banners, an SUV with eucalyptus burl interior with a secret hiding place containing a matching Mont Banc pen, and fancy red motorcycles.
Broussaeau wrote up his story in a pdf, which was posted on Scientology defector Marty Rathbun's blog. Here are some photos of the unpaid labor he and others did to keep Cruise happy with all his expensive toys.
Click on the photos below to enlarge
This is Cruise with Katie Holmes riding the Honda Rune that Brousseau painted at the premiere of War of the Worlds in June 2005. "I did a lot of the painting myself," Brousseau writes. "But I also enlisted the help of two other Sea Org members." They were paid $50 per week.
Here is a shot of Cruise's private airplane hangar in Burbank, Calif. The aluminum trusswork that's holding up those giant vintage banners was installed by Brousseau. "All this trussing was part of tricking out Tom's hangar for him. Designing, fabricating and supervising the whole job was a gift from [Miscavige]. Tom paid for all the materials, but 99% of the work was done by Sea Org members. And they were paid $50.00 per week by the Church while doing this. Huge 3 dimensional signs to hang from this truss system were designed and manufactured...by Sea Org members. Hundreds of man-hours were spent doing this. Huge draperies to hang behind the signs were sewn at [Scientology's in-house] Golden Era Productions as well."
And here is the drapery being installed.
This is Cruise's Ford Excursion. After an initial botched attempt to customize one as a gift for Cruise failed and left the $50,000 car rotting in a garage somewhere, Brousseau rehabbed it himself. "I spend the next 6 months completely tearing it apart and rebuilding it. I tear off [the] roof and redo it properly. I gut the interior and throw out practically everything. I start again, from scratch, and build it right. About 2,000 man-hours personally by me. I make it into a custom limo like no other ever built.... It was his absolute favorite after [Miscavige] gave it to him. Tom was completely blown away by it."
And here it is gutted.
"Here it is after I fully completed it. Fancy burlwood everywhere, expensive leather, wool carpet."
Custom-made "TC" mongrams on the running boards.
And... the pen. "I even made a custom Mont Blanc pen out of the same matching eucalyptus burl. The pen had a hidden storage location. [Miscavige] went nuts when he saw this and so did Tom. It was completely over the top."