Following Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' divorce, the actor received a new wave of love and sympathy, recalling his days of 1990s superstardom. But this phase might be over, as a Vanity Fair cover story from the October 2012 issue of the magazine has decided to take a swing at the actor and his highly controversial religion of Scientology. The article, written by Maureen Orth, accused the Church of Scientology of putting together an audition process to find Cruise a Scientology-friendly girlfriend back in 2004. In response to this story, the Church of Scientology released an eight-page letter to Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter denying the accusations and slamming the magazine for "shoddy journalism, religious bigotry and potential legal liability."
According to Orth's story, actress Nazanin Boniadi was eventually "selected" for what was intended to be a secret relationship, but was subsequently penalized by Cruise and the church for various allegations of disrespect to the religion (and Cruise), and finally was reportedly forced to withstand a series of physical and emotional punishments (i.e., scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush) after revealing her secret relationship to a friend. (Boniadi had reportedly been forbidden from discussing her Cruise relationship with anyone.) You can read about the story in more detail here.
The letter, written on behalf of the Church of Scientology by attorney Jeffrey K. Riffer, begins with the following passage:"We are writing regarding your, your editor’s and reporter’s shoddy journalism, religious bigotry and potential legal liability arising out of Vanity Fair’s upcoming story about the Tom Cruise divorce. Significantly, while Maureen Orth was preparing her story, Vanity Fair ignored its staff and contributors who have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Cruise and of [David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology] and who would burden her story with the truth.
We have further been informed that you are directing this story personally, that you have intentionally kept your LA Office out of the loop and refused any input by Vanity Fair employees with personal knowledge of the Church and Mr. Miscavige. And all of this to intentionally make the Church unaware that a story was even being written about them, until your reporter had written it in full. Her request for an “interview” of Mr. Miscavige was a disingenuous sham, since she couldn’t possibly have thought that an “Oh, by the way” phone call to the Church’s Public Affairs office requesting an interview with the ecclesiastical leader of the religion could possibly be accommodated.
If she were serious, she would have done at least a molecule of research in seeing that Mr. Miscavige travels across the country and around the world almost non-stop, unlike the anti-Scientologist apostate sources who form the basis of her already-written story and who are available on a moment’s notice at the press of “send” on any anti-Scientology hate-site blog. Is it usual for you to take over the editorial direction of Vanity Fair articles or is that reserved for hatchet-jobs of minority religions and its members?"The letter goes on to accuse Vanity Fair of defaming the religion and Miscavige, and continues to insist that the audition process was a fallacious story, solidified in Riffer's statement. "Mr. Miscavige has never had any involvement with the hiring of Mr. Cruise's professional staff or press agents," the letter states. "It is inconceivable (to the entire world) that Mr. Cruise would have difficulty getting a girlfriend."
So is this Vanity Fair story an outlier, or are people comfortable siding against Tom Cruise again? And if the world is back in the habit of Cruise-directed jokes, will this ordeal turn out to be the next "Oprah's couch?"
[Photo Credit: WENN]
Tom Cruise and Scientology Auditioned Girlfriends for Actor, 'Vanity Fair' Article Alleges
Katie Holmes Moves on from Tom Cruise with Her Fashion Debut
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise Divorce Finalized
From Our Partners:
'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' First Look: Jennifer Lawrence Back as Katniss — EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS
Olivia Wilde Goes Barefaced in New York City: 93 Celebrities Who Dared To Go Makeup-Free — PHOTOS
Fields insists investigative journalist Maureen Orth's expose about his client's ties to the Church is "long, boring and false".
Hours after a Scientology representative dismissed the story in an official statement, Fields tells The Hollywood Reporter, "Vanity Fair's story is essentially a rehash of tired old lies previously run in the supermarket tabloids, quoting the same bogus 'sources'."
In her article, Orth claims Boniadi, who was a Scientologist at the time, was selected as a potential wife for Cruise in 2004, and forced to clean toilets with a toothbrush when she allegedly breached confidentiality agreements and told friends of his links to the Top Gun star.
The Scientology representative previously told WENN, "The allegation and entire premise of the Vanity Fair article is totally false... We have been denying this ridiculous tale now since it first appeared in print four years ago.
"No Church members were 'used,' nor were they punished, nor silenced. This is totally false."
In her new piece, investigative journalist Maureen Orth claims the actress was vetted by Church officials as a potential girlfriend for the movie star in 2004.
Orth alleges Boniadi was punished by church leaders when she breached confidentiality agreements and turned to friends for support when the relationship fell flat.
Scientology representatives have been quick to dismiss the article, but Haggis, who 'resigned' from the Church in 2009, has written to Showbiz411.com's Roger Friedman to back up the Vanity Fair story and defend his friend.
He writes, "I’m appalled that any church would treat its parishioners this way, but Naz has never cast herself as a victim. She is strong and resilient and I am very proud to call her a friend.
"Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent.
"The last thing she wanted or needed is this kind of publicity, but here it is, and I am sure she will deal with it with the same grace and dignity she exudes in her daily life."
Haggis also reveals in his email that Boniadi "quietly and privately resigned from the church a couple of years ago after several years of trying to handle this injustice internally, to no avail."
UPDATE: Tom Cruise's rep released the following statement to Hollywood.com regarding Maureen Orth's Vanity Fair article, "Lies in a different font are still lies — designed to sell magazines."
EARLIER: Tom Cruise is no stranger to seeing his name in explosive tabloid headlines, but Vanity Fair has now also released salacious details surrounding his love life and its possible connection to his mysterious religion, Scientology. Back in June, Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Cruise after five years of marriage — and five years of rampant media speculation surrounding the nature of their relationship. And now, following Maureen Orth’s piece in Vanity Fair, there’s likely to be even more chatter surrounding their hush-hush relationship (at least, hush-hush following Cruise’s enthusiastic couch-jumping). Orth spoke to various sources, including Scientologist Marc Headley, who claim the church embarked on an auditioning process to find Cruise a girlfriend in 2004. After relationships with Nicole Kidman and Penélope Cruz crumbled because of the actress’ reported disrespect of the religion (“You can’t do anything to displease Scientology, because Tom Cruise will freak out,” Headley told Orth), Cruise allegedly selected actress and Scientologist Nazanin Boniadi — otherwise known to TV audiences as How I Met Your Mother’s Nora — as his next paramour. According to Vanity Fair’s press release: Initially she was told only that she had been selected for a very important mission. In a month-long preparation in October 2004, she was audited every day, a process in which she told a high-ranking Scientology official her innermost secrets and every detail of her sex life. Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup. (Scientology denies any misuse of confidential material.) The source says Boniadi signed a confidentiality agreement and was told that if she “messed up” in any way she would be declared a Suppressive Person (a pariah and enemy of Scientology). The article details the early days of their reported relationship, during which the couple went to dinner with “an entourage of Scientology aides,” and stayed at Trump Tower, but did not engage in any intimate relations. The second month of their two-month romance, however, was rough on Boniadi, who found herself clashing with the A-list actor. Says Vanity Fair’s release:Though the first month of their relationship was bliss, by the second month Boniadi was more and more often found wanting, Orth reports. According to the knowledgeable source, anything she said or did that Cruise found fault with he immediately reported to a member of the Scientology staff, and she would be audited for it. This began with her very first words to him, “Very well done,” regarding his receiving Scientology’s Freedom Medal of Valor. The phrase implied that Cruise was her junior. According to the knowledgeable source, Boniadi also offended Scientology chief David Miscavige, who speaks rapidly, because she kept saying, “Excuse me?” when she was entertaining him and his wife during a visit to Telluride. In Scientology, the ability to have your communication “land” is crucial. Boniadi was excoriated by Cruise for disrespecting Miscavige. (A representative for Miscavige told Vanity Fair, “Mr. Miscavige doesn’t remember any girlfriend of anyone, in his entire life, insulting him.”) Soon, according to the piece, Boniadi felt “shut off,” only able to use a credit card from Cruise’s production company for money. Orth reports that Boniadi was told briefly after the alleged incident with Miscavige that Cruise “wants someone with her own power — like Nicole.” Eventually, Boniadi reportedly told a Scientologist friend about her relationship with Cruise, and was subsequently reported to the church. Though the church denies it to Vanity Fair, Boniadi’s punishment “was to scrub toilets with a toothbrush, clean bathroom tiles with acid, and dig ditches in the middle of the night. After that she was sent out to sell Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics on street corners.”
Reps for the Church of Scientology have not responded to Hollywood.com's request for comment. Orth’s article in the October issue of Vanity Fair, “What Katie Didn’t Know,” hits shelves Sept. 6. [Image Credit: Vanity Fair] More: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise Divorce Finalized Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: The Five Craziest Marriage Rumors Could Katie Holmes’ Split from Tom Cruise Help the Actress’ Career?
From Our Partners:Kristin Stewart Opens Up Post-Cheating Scandal(Celebuzz) Shirtless Justin Bieber Debuts New Tattoo(Celebuzz)