It's a "War of the Words."
After Dr. Drew Pinsky's comments about Tom Cruise's mental health led the actor's lawyer to compare the TV therapist to a Nazi, Pinksy apologized for insulting the star.
"Dr. Drew meant no harm to Mr. Cruise and apologizes if his comments were hurtful," Pinsky's representative said Thursday in a statement.
But Pinsky, the host of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," also said that Cruise's attorney, Bert Fields, was intending to "slander" him in comparing him to Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels.
"Although Mr. Fields' intent is clearly to slander and discredit Dr. Drew, under no circumstances is Dr. Drew making a blanket diagnosis about Scientology nor Mr. Cruise whom he does not know," Pinksy said through his rep in the statement.
"Dr. Drew was simply using Mr. Cruise as an example of someone who is recognizable to help the public understand. Again, Dr. Drew meant him no harm," he added.
In next month's Playboy, Pinsky says: "A lot of people in the public eye who behave strangely have mental illness we can learn from, and much of it is based on childhood trauma, without a doubt.
"Take a guy like Tom Cruise. Why would somebody be drawn into a cultish kind of environment like Scientology? To me, that's a function of a very deep emptiness and suggests serious neglect in childhood — maybe some abuse, but mostly neglect."
In response to the Playboy quotes, Fields told the New York Post's Page Six gossip column: "This unqualified television performer who is obviously just looking for notoriety is so grotesquely unprofessional as to pretend to diagnose Tom and others without ever meeting them.
"He seems to be spewing the absurdity that all Scientologists are mentally ill. The last time we heard garbage like this was from Joseph Goebbels."
Goebbels was minister for public enlightenment and propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of German dictator Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers.
Pinsky is a board-certified internist and addiction medicine specialist.