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Paula Wagner Defends Tom Cruise Against Scientology Critics

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Jan 20, 2008 | 7:36pm EST

Tom Cruise's producer partner Paula Wagner has slammed the Hollywood star's critics, insisting the actor has become a victim of religious prejudice because he is a Scientologist.

The Mission: Impossible star recently came under fire for accusing government officials of lying to the public in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks--comments that were made in newly surfaced video footage promoting Scientology.

But Wagner, who co-owns the United Artists studio with Cruise, is adamant his controversial views as a Scientologist have had no effect on his professional career.

She says, "I am not a Scientologist, nor are most of the people Tom and I work with, but that doesn't mean I can sit by silently while he is attacked for his religious beliefs.

"As a filmmaker and an American, I feel strongly that an individual's religion should have no bearing on their professional life. I have always believed that Americans celebrated these differences."

"It's easy to mock an out-of-context video. But that doesn't change the fact that Tom Cruise is one of the hardest-working and nicest human beings I have ever known."

And Wagner also took the opportunity to address the "inaccurate" new book about the star by British author Andrew Morton, called Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography.

She adds, "(The book is) filled with distortions and outright lies that no sensible person will take seriously."

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