The Golden Globes 2023 saw The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin and The White Lotus win big at the awards ceremony on Tuesday (10 January). Hosted by Jerrod Carmichael, the night saw some of the biggest names in entertainment gathered together on the red carpet - however, audiences might not be as familiar with a particular name that has caused quite the stir.
During the ceremony, Carmichael made a reference to Shelly Miscavige during a joke about the Golden Globes that Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick, Mission Impossible) famously returned in 2021.
This is everything you need to know.
Who is Shelly Miscavige - where is she?
Born Michele Diance Barnett on 18 January 1961, Miscavige is married to the Scientology leader David Miscavige and has not been seen in public since August of 2007. She married her husband in December 1982, when she was 21 and David Miscavige was 22.
Miscavige became David’s official assistant in aid of his position as the Chairman of the Board of the Scientology’s Religious Technology Center.
According to a 2011 report from the New Yorker, shortly before her disappearance, “Shelly filled several job vacancies without her husband’s permission” and “soon afterward, she disappeared. Her current status is unknown”. Scientology members who don’t follow the rules are allegedly subjected to being locked up in “The Hole”, something which journalist and Scientology expert Tony Ortega describes as a “notorious concentration camp”.
Miscavige is believed to have had a falling out with her husband, who has had a number of allegations made against him, including human trafficking, child abuse, slavery, forced separation of family members, and emotional and physical abuse by former subordinates.
Miscavige was last seen in public in 2007, at her father’s funeral. In 2012, Miscavige’s attorneys told US Weekly that “any reports that she is missing are false… Mrs. Miscavige has been working nonstop in the Church, as she always has”.
What has Leah Remini said about Shelly Miscavige?
American actress Leah Remini (The King of Queens, Kevin Can Wait) had been a member of the Church of Scientology since she was nine years old, but in 2013 made the decision to leave. In a series of tweets she made in November 2022, Remini said that she was subjected to “months of cruel interrogations and reprogramming for the “high crime” of asking where Shelly was” after questioning the whereabouts of Miscavige when she didn’t appear at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
She said that “when I asked where Shelly was, Tommy Davis, Tom Cruise and David Miscavige’s henchman told me, “you don’t have the f**king rank to ask about Shelly”” and that when she left Scientology, her “first goal was to try and find Shelly”.
Remini filed a missing persons report for Miscavige in August 2013, however the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said that her report was “unfounded” after reportedly speaking with Miscavige and closing the investigation. The police told ABC News that “our missing persons detectives have met with the alleged missing person within the past two days”.
A statement from the church at the time said: “This ill-advised, ludicrous self promotion and media inquiries it generated caused an inexcusable distraction for the LAPD. The entire episode was nothing more than a publicity stunt for Ms. Remini.”
Since leaving Scientology, Remini has been candid with her experiences within the church, releasing her memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology in November 2015 and developing a series for A&E which told the stories of ex-Scientolgists called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
What did Jerrod Carmichael say at the Golden Globes?
Jerrod Carmichael, who was the host of the Golden Globes which aired on Tuesday night (10 January), took aim at Tom Cruise, joking that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) should use his three awards that he returned to help find Miscavige.
Cruise, who was not present during the 2023 awards ceremony, famously returned his Globes in 2021 in protest of the HFPA following its diversity scandal after it was revealed that the voting body had no Black members at the time. He won his first Globe in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July, his second for Jerry Maguire and his third for Magnolia.
Holding up the gongs, Carmichael said: “Hey guys, backstage I found these - it’s the three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned. I’m just a host briefly or whatever, but I have a pitch. I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.”
The comment from Carmichael refers to the fact that Cruise is a member of the Church of Scientology and an outspoken advocast for the organisation.
Remini reacted to Carmichael’s comment on Twitter, posting a clip of the moment from the awards ceremony with the caption: “Thank you Jerrod Carmichael! Where is Shelly?? #GoldenGlobes2023 #GoldenGlobes”
Other views of the Golden Globes have applauded Carmichael on Twitter, with one person writing: “HAHAHAHA bold as hell to make a Shelly Miscavige joke in a room full of at least 50 Scientologists #GoldenGlobes #GoldenGlobes2023”
Another tweeted: “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”
“I still can’t believe Jerrod Carmichael made a flipping Shelly Miscavige joke. I mean, he needs to make sure he’s got security with him or something. I’m not even joking. That guy has some guts! #GoldenGlobes,” wrote another.