The last person on earth who needs defending is Tom Cruise, but I thought his response to the British TV crew that squirted him in the face while pretending to interview him was, as the Brits would say, "spot on." Cruise grabbed the guy by the arm as he tried to flee, and said "You're a jerk."
It is one thing for a child to squirt his dad with a water gun. It is another thing altogether for a stranger to spray an unkown liquid onto someone they don't know. Dad obviously knows his child is playing. But when a stranger douses you, how can you know what's hit you? For all you know, it's hydrochloric acid.
The whole "punked" thing is about lesser lights bringing down the mighty. I'm all in favor of leveling, but it should be about intellectual challenges, not physical actions that can evoke fear.
Cruise handled this with class. I hope the Brits put the perps in jail. And that someone reviews security measures.