Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
April 20-May 4, 2005 Issue #73
 As Seen on T.V.
Hollywood Egomaniac Threatens Beast Over Alleged "Need for Speed"
On The Campaign Trail with The Democrats
by Matt Taibbi
Primary Challenge Raises Secondary Concerns
by Allan Uthman
The Impossible Physics of Thomas Friedman's Brain
by Matt Taibbi
New Representative Jettisons Principles in Record Time
by Paul Fallon
The BEAST Investigates
A Totally Original Idea

by N. Sorrenti
BEAST Story and Clip on Celebrity Justice


Read Controversial List
Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Separated At Birth
Blind Date Scenario
Kino Corner
Audio Files
NEW! Angry Voicemails
[SIC] - Your Letters
Advertiser Index
Hollywood Egomaniac Threatens Beast Over Alleged "Need for Speed"


"Just sue. Just do it. Sue, sue, sue. Do it. Go, go, go, go."

-Tom Cruise, revealing in Details magazine how he tells his lawyer to deal with negative press.

It’s been a fun couple of weeks here at the Beast. After a long, hard Buffalo winter spent slogging away, running on fumes with little relief and few rewards, the last few days have brought some cheer, and put some gas in our tank. Smiles abound in the usually glum office today, and our regular cashflow difficulties seem somehow less burdensome, almost funny.

Why, you ask? Because we have seriously angered Tom Cruise. He’s threatening to sue. Plus we were on Court TV last weekend.

Now, you might wonder why we’re not shaking in our shelltoes, panicked and apologetic the way almost any other publication would be if the famously litigious Cruise fired a shot across their bow. Well, maybe we’re just not aware of what we’re really in for; that’s a genuine possibility. Part of it is the simple fact that Cruise couldn’t possibly hope to collect any damages from us, because we just don’t have any money. Certainly it has already been a publicity coup for us, garnering national exposure of a sort we couldn’t have hoped for, and promises to deliver much more if the obsessively defensive Cruise follows through on his threats. But frankly, we just think it’s damn hilarious that an Oscar-winning, blockbuster-crapping star like Cruise would find the time or energy to do battle with a struggling independent satire paper in Buffalo. All week, we’ve been spontaneously bursting into laughter just looking at each other.

You probably don’t know what we’re talking about, unless you’ve caught any of the press on it, which was admittedly meager relative to the grand cacophony of pop media. So here’s the story so far.

* * * * *

Background: High Loathsome Sound

Jan 10th: Ignoring advice from Beast founder Matt Taibbi to start the putatively annual "50 Most Loathsome People in America" list three days earlier than he thinks necessary, lethargic editor Al Uthman starts the 5,000-plus word list a day before deadline.

Jan 11th: Uthman "finishes" the hastily prepared list and immediately deems it an abject failure, but puts it in the paper anyway, because impatient printers are waiting. Tom Cruise’s entry at number thirty-nine is one of the last and most quickly dashed off items. Here it is in its entirety:

39. Tom Cruise

Crimes: Inexplicable stardom. In a just world, Brendan Fraser would get an Oscar before this carbon copy of every other rich asshole cokehead with a fast car. Consistently influential in casting women in his movies for the sole purpose of nailing them. Extremely convincing when he plays an ambitious, superficial prick.

Smoking Gun: Always plays an ambitious, superficial prick.

Punishment: Caught in the act with Vin Diesel.

It’s not very good, really. There could have been much better digs at Cruise about his increasingly vocal support of the Church of Scientology, or his "respect the cock" character in Magnolia, for instance. At any rate, there it is. Certainly the list contains much worse characterizations of many of the other 49 listed (well, 48 actually—Uthman sloppily skipped number 33), but no one else seems to have noticed, or maybe their lives are simply too busy and rewarding for them to give a shit what some tiny rust belt paper thinks of them.

Jan 14th—mid-February: Once posted on the web, the Loathsome List takes on a life of its own, passed around thousands of blogs, webforums and listservs, generating hundreds of thousands of hits and thousands of e-mails from around the world. People love the damn thing. A Google search for "50 most loathsome people in America" currently brings up about 78,200 webpages. Requests for subscriptions grow to a steady trickle.

Feb 3rd: The Loathsome List is the topic of discussion for over fifteen minutes on Air America Radio’s "Unfiltered." Unfortunately, it is the most vapid, superficial treatment imaginable, clearly revealing that the hosts, including "comedienne" Lizz Winstead (whose Comedy Central standup feature is the worst we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen Jeff Foxworthy), haven’t even skimmed the article. Worse yet, regular co-host and legendary rapper Chuck D wasn’t even there. To help them discuss the article, the show brings in horrible entertainment barnacle Michael Musto of the Village Voice, who would have made an excellent #33. No one in the studio seems to be aware that initial Beast editor Matt Taibbi works at the New York Press, the Voice’s main competition in New York City’s free paper market. In fact, no one seems to be aware that the Beast is a newspaper and not just a website. Despite the ostensibly political nature of Air America, the "Unfiltered" crew chooses to focus almost solely on worthless celebrities like Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith. Then our website goes down for a whole day, negating any possible positive effect of the program.

* * * * *

The Worm’s Turn

Feb 5th: It begins. Dickhead L.A. lawyer-to-the-stars Bertram Fields pads his billable hours mailing an unintentionally hilarious letter on behalf of Tom Cruise, naming just about everyone on our masthead as respondents, demanding an apology and making the ridiculous assertion that his entry in the Loathsome list "can cause serious personal and professional damage to Mr. Cruise."


Feb 23rd: The Beast responds by printing Fields’ letter along with a less-than-serious response in an attempt to goad Cruise into actually suing. The letter, originally published in Beast issue 69:



February 2, 2005

The Beast


I represent Tom Cruise. Your Issue #67 of "The Beast" contains false, defamatory and malicious assertions about Mr. Cruise. They include the following:

(1) That Mr. Cruise is a "cokehead." This is utterly false. He is not and never has been a "cokehead" or even a cocaine user. In fact, his fiercely anti-drug views are well known.

(2) That Mr. Cruise consistently casts women "for the purpose of nailing them." This too is completely false. Mr. Cruise has never cast any actress for that purpose. He is dedicated and professional in his work. He casts actresses based on their acting ability and fitness for the role, nothing else.

To publicly issue such absurdly false statements, without the slightest basis in fact, manifests an extraordinary level of malice and the complete absence of any sense of journalistic ethics.

You have made other false assertions about Mr. Cruise, such as your juvenile ranting that he is an "asshole" and is "loathsome." But, even though these assertions are irresponsible and far from the truth, they may conceivably be your opinions. If so, your reckless expression of such opinions formed without the slightest knowledge on the subject is reprehensible, even if not actionable.

The false assertions numbered above, however, are not matters of opinion. They are flat out, demonstrable lies. They can cause serious personal and professional damage to Mr. Cruise.

Without limiting Mr. Cruise’s rights or remedies in any way, I must ask that you issue an immediate retraction of your false assertions about him in language which I approve on his behalf.


cc: Charles Shephard, Esq. E. Barry Haldeman, Esq.

The Beast’s reply, published in the same issue and sent to Mr. Fields himself:

Dear Bertram,

We categorically deny your slanderous allegations that our characterizations of Mr. Cruise are groundless. Mr. Cruise has been spotted on several occasions enjoying the sweet, refreshing taste of Coca-Cola. He even helped direct a commercial for the syrupy beverage, starring Penelope Cruz, who, we might add, he became romantically involved him following her being cast opposite him in Vanilla Sky.

Aside from Ms. Cruz, Mr. Cruise also became romantically involved with Nicole Kidman after her being cast opposite him in the traumatically awful Days of Thunder. The story goes similarly with Rebecca De Mornay after Risky Business, and let’s not forget that tryst with the unicorn from Legend.

We apologize if we hurt Mr. Cruise’s feelings, but it may help to know that not everyone here at the Beast thinks so poorly of him. It is a well-known fact in the Beast offices that our associate editor has a large poster of a shirtless Cruise taped to the ceiling above his bed, which he masturbates to vigorously on a regular basis.

You know we could say more, Bertram; why not quit while you’re ahead?

No answer is forthcoming from Fields.

* * * * *

Blood in the Water

March 11th: In an attempt to "get some mileage" out of the Cruise letter after a lackluster response from skeptical readers who understandably assume it is just another Beast fabrication, Uthman submits the story to the "Celebrity Justice" website using a false name and posing as a casual Beast reader. Nothing immediately happens, which is pretty much what we expected.

March 31st: Poetic justice—Air America’s "Unfiltered" is cancelled in favor of a new show featuring trailer trash icon Jerry Springer.

April 8th: Paydirt. Beast publisher Paul Fallon receives a phone call from Holly Herbert, a "reporter" for the Warner Brothers-produced TV show "Celebrity Justice." Herbert thinks the website is hilarious. They’re sending a cameraman down to do an interview, she tells him. They’re in a hurry; the segment will air that night. Fallon calls editor Al Uthman to inform him. Uthman drives down to the office in disbelief. A cameraman arrives, subcontracted from channel 7, with no interviewer. Left to speak for themselves with no questions to respond to, Fallon and Uthman struggle to think of something good to say on the spot, while stoic co-editor Ian Murphy remains silent as always. Uthman says something stupid about how having a paper means he can say anything he wants, which will be quoted and repeated in every subsequent article on the story, while more perspicacious lines languish on the cutting room floor.

April 8th, 11:30pm: "CJ" Leads with the Cruise/Beast story, which includes footage of several Beast covers, the website, a smiling red carpet Cruise, and Bertram Fields’ assessment of the Beast: "These guys should be ashamed of themselves. They have no business in journalism; they ought to be out of business. And maybe we’ll decide to put them out of business by filing an appropriate lawsuit." Fields displays a "tell" on the last line, however; he looks away and uses the word "maybe," unconsciously giving away the fact that he knows he has no case, and is probably using the story to help Cruise promote his upcoming movie, War of the Worlds. Uthman realizes, among other things, that he has really gotten fat.

April 9th: United Press International (UPI), a news wire service, picks up the "CJ" story. It winds up gracing the pages of several entertainment news websites and the Washington Times, of all papers. Calls and emails stream in from angry Cruise devotees and stunned Beast associates, including an amusing voicemail from Kino Korner’s Michael Gildea, who isn’t sure if he has fallen asleep on the couch and dreamed the whole thing.

The story disseminates through more blogs, webforums and online publications. The tone is definitely bemused, and by far the most common reactions online and at home are "what the hell is up his ass?" and "how the hell did he wind up reading the Beast?" Webhits at buffaloBeast.com double, triple, and quadruple within hours, and continue to climb.

April 10th: Requests for radio interviews come in from Buffalo stations 103.3 "The Edge," 97 Rock, and Ontario’s 105.1 "The River." Again, everyone involved finds the story hilarious.

April 11th: Channel 7 (WKBW) recycles the footage their cameraman took at the Beast office and produces their own segment on the ‘controversy,’ including more footage of Uthman and Fallon stammering their way through the segment and some gratuitous clips from Mission: Impossible. The teasers for the segment prominently feature lengthy shots of the recent and much deplored "Schiavo: America’s Favorite Vegetable" cover, to the amusement of the Beast staff.

The Buffalo News, adhering to their usual policy of denying the Beast’s very existence, doesn’t cover the story despite its local focus and obvious entertainment value.

April 13th: A camera crew arrives from Channel 23 (WNLO) and conducts another interview with Uthman. This time he answers questions reasonably well, but the interview is aired at 1am after a terrible music video on "Mise en Place," a new show which hopes to supply Buffalo’s gaping market for pretentious art magazine programs with poor production values and French titles (these guys seemed cool, but seriously).

* * * * *

That’s all so far, but we’re committed to riding this ugly P.R. shit-monster as far as it will take us. To this end, the paper before you at this very moment contains many items designed solely for the eyes of the detestable Mr. Cruise and his parasitic, Rumsfeld-like mega-lawyer Bert Fields in an attempt to further goad them toward bringing actual litigation against us. Somehow, these assholes are going to make us famous, if we have any say in the matter. Other operations are in the works, but nothing has panned out yet—stay tuned for that.

In closing, we’d like to opine on just what is to be learned here. For one, a lesson Mr. Cruise would do well to absorb: attacking everyone who has anything bad to say about you with a phalanx of libel lawyers only serves to legitimize their claims. In other words, every time Cruise sues someone who says he’s gay, it makes him look gay. When he sued a gossip columnist for saying he stuffed his drawers in Magnolia, it would have made us all think he has a tiny package, if we weren’t already suspicious. Suing us will only cause more people to read our list, and cause many to wonder if he really is a cokehead, whereas most would have casually dismissed the comment as silly blather from an obvious misanthrope with no claim to inside info on the star.

For the record, we’d like to point out that we never said Cruise was a cokehead, only that he has the personality of a cokehead. His reaction has, to say the least, validated that claim. As to the idea that he gets women cast in his movies so he can bed them down, we’d think he would be grateful for the hetero gossip after his $100 million dollar lawsuits against German magazine Actustar and gay porn star Kyle Bradford.

But gratitude is not what we’re after. What we’re after is a full-scale legal assault against us. We at the Beast are willing, if not ready or able, to carry the torch of irresponsible journalism into this new American millennium, to follow in the dirty footsteps of bastards like Larry Flynt and fight for our right to talk shit about public figures of all descriptions, whether or not they are anal retentive control freaks with inferiority complexes and intimacy issues who believe we are here on earth because of a mass implanting policy instituted by the head of the Galactic Federation.

We will voluntarily sacrifice our time, energy, and obscurity to do battle with this handsome, brainwashed millionaire and his strange quest for "accuracy," and we will do every interview and press conference necessary, no matter how long it takes. And so, to Mr. Cruise and his Harvard-educated attack dog Bertram Fields, we have this to say:

Just sue. Just do it. Sue, sue, sue. Do it. Go, go, go, go.

© Copyright 2002-2005, The Beast. All rights reserved.