A Florida bar owner who snuck into Tom Cruise’s penthouse says that Church of Scientology is now targeting him in retaliation.
The Daily Mail reports that Clay Irwin, 54, became friendly with some of the contractors working on Cruise’s luxury penthouse when they would come to his Clearwater bar, the Lucky Anchor, after work. At one point the workers invited Irwin to come see the unfinished apartment, and he happily accepted, bringing his dog along.
Irwin recorded a seven-minute video of the unfinished space, showing off the infinity pool, skylights, living room, and views of the city. Clearwater’s Church of Scientology, the chuch’s “spiritual headquarters,” can be seen from the apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Tom Cruise has a hell of a pad,” he says.
Irwin’s video went viral not long after he posted it on social media, and he said that’s when the backlash began.
“But then Tom found out, and he wasn’t happy, I thought it was fun, cool for friends, I didn’t really think I was invading his privacy, which I was, even though I’d been invited.
It was harmless, accidental to make him mad. The Church bigwigs came over and asked me to pull it down, they watched over my shoulder while I deleted it. I didn’t hesitate to do it. I understood.”
But it apparently wasn’t enough. When weeks later the church threw a huge bash in the neighborhood, Irwin says he was snubbed. Then he said he started seeing signs that someone was trying to hurt his business.
“Then I’m starting to get caught with violation city codes, stupid stuff, they told me I had too much signage in my window. I don’t know if it’s them [Scientology]. You only think it’s them.”
But when Irwin allegedly found a camera hidden in a neighbor’s yard, he had a pretty good idea who put it there.
“It took me a week to crack the files, as they were protected, but I’m pretty good with computers, and they had been watching my house, it was really creepy seeing my car and me walking around.”
Irwin told the Daily Mail that he reported the incident to the police and the FBI, and he said they are investigating.
“It’s like walking on eggshells, I feel like I’m being followed,” he said. “Every time I walk my dog, I’m looking for cameras. Who lives like this? Why are they doing this? Right now, they’re just trying to intimidate.”
Feature photo: Associated Press