Jerrod Carmichael Jokes About Tom Cruise's Returned Golden Globes Trophies, References Scientology
2023/11/13

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continued to take on controversies while hosting the .

On Tuesday, the comedian, 35, head on in his opening monologue, and later in the show, Carmichael also included a bit about and Scientology.

While holding three prop statuettes onstage, Carmichael , "Backstage, I found these three Golden Globes that returned," referencing when the the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's , when it was revealed in early 2021 that the HFPA voting body had zero Black members. (The HFPA has since addressed the issue and NBC put the show back on the air this year after opting not to broadcast the ceremony last year.

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)

Cruise, 60, previously won his three awards for best actor in and , plus best supporting actor for . Other amid the backlash, including Scarlett Johansson. Cruise did not attend the event Tuesday.

Carmichael continued in his bit, "I have a pitch: I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige. Anyway." He then introduced Cruise's costars Jay Ellis and Glen Powell, who were presenting an award.

The joke was met with awkward laughter from the crowd, and a source who was in the room tells PEOPLE "mouths were agape" after the comment.

A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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A rep for Cruise did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Shelly is the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, and she allegedly hasn't been seen publicly in about 15 years. , a former member who has been outspoken against the controversial organization over the years, this past November: "WHERE IS SHELLY???" The actress, 52, also called out the Los Angeles Police Department for closing its investigation years ago, accusing them of working with the Church of Scientology.

The LAPD in November, saying in a press release: "In 2014, Los Angeles Police Department detectives assigned to the Missing Persons Unit (MPU) went to Shelly Miscavige's location and personally made contact with her and her attorney.

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Detectives found her to be alive and safe, and subsequently closed the missing persons investigation."

During his opening monologue, Carmichael referenced the HFPA scandal and joked: "I'll tell you why I'm here. I'm here because I'm Black." He added, "This show, the Golden Globe Awards, did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — which I won't say were a racist organization, but they didn't have a single Black member until George Floyd died [in 2020]. So do with that information what you will."

He went on to recall how he got the gig, joking, "One minute you're making mint tea at home, the next you're invited to be the Black face of the embattled White organization. Life really comes extra fast, you know?"

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