The Church Of Scientology has hit back at Vanity Fair's bombshell cover story which includes claims that Scientology officials auditioned 'dozens of young women' for Tom Cruise prior to his marriage to Katie Holmes.
In the publication's controversial article, journalist Maureen Orth alleges that actress Nazanin Boniadi was one of the women being auditioned to marry the megastar — a process which she claims was headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige. In a scathing eight-page letter sent to Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter on August 16, 2012, the organisation fires back at the magazine, its editor and Orth, branding her 'a bigot'. It also dismisses all of the article's allegations as defamatory. “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,” the letter states.
“Significantly, while Maureen Orth was preparing her story, Vanity Fair ignored its staff and contributors who have firsthand knowledge of Mr Cruise and of Mr Miscavige and who would burden her story with the truth.”
The letter further stated: “Just because you don't think you are bigoted doesn't mean you aren't. Bigotry and ignorance go hand in hand and you are definitely and willfully ignorant of the actual beliefs of Scientology and the activities of its Churches.” The letter also contains threats of legal action. In response to the letter, Vanity Fair has released a statement to CNN. “We absolutely stand by Maureen Orth's story. Vanity Fair has never paid sources and never would,” it says.
According to Vanity Fair's exposé, the secretive religious group organised an 'audition' process to find Cruise a wife, grilling dozens of young women to make sure they posed no threat to the church or its most famous member. And his now ex-wife Katie was apparently not the first choice — the church wanted Cruise to marry a young actress, Nazanin Boniadi, who was already a Scientologist, but Boniadi was seen as disrespectful to religious leaders, the magazine claimed. The shocking allegations about the origins of the stars' six-year marriage are made in the October issue of Vanity Fair. In the article, Orth claims that the project to identify a new partner for Cruise, following the break-up of his relationships with Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz, started in 2004 and was headed by Shelly Miscavige. A number of Scientologist actresses were interviewed by church leaders, former official Marc Headley claims, and told they were being considered for a role in a new training video.
— Daily Mail