The Church of Scientology is none too pleased with Vanity Fair.
On Saturday, the magazine released a shocking investigative report, in which it claimed actress (and former church member) Nazanin Boniadi was audited to date Tom Cruise -- and subsequently punished for not toeing the Church's line with regards to her relationship with the Rock of Ages star.
Two days later, a rep for Scientology reached out to Us Weekly slamming the Melissa Orth-penned piece.
"The entire story is hogwash. There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride (audition or otherwise) for any member of the church," the Church said in a statement. "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."
Scientology's rep also criticized filmmaker and outspoken former Scientologist Paul Haggis, who wrote a September 2 email corroborating the Vanity Fair report and defending his friend Boniadi, 34.
"I met her through a mutual friend when I was doing my own personal research into the allegations against Scientology, before I wrote my letter of resignation," Haggis, 59, wrote to Showbiz411 on September 2. "Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in the incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent. However I was deeply disturbed by how the highest ranking members of a church could so easily justify using one of their members; how they so callously punished her and then so effectively silenced her when it was done."
According to the rep, Haggis is no more than "a status obsessed apostate who exploited a tenuous connection with Scientology to grab headlines via a publicity stunt whereby he 'resigned' from the Church where he had not been an active parishioner for decades." And now? "He is doing the same again -- attempting to grab headlines and falsely slander his former religion. No Church members were 'used,' nor were they punished, nor silenced. This is totally false."
What's more, the Church implies that Haggis may have had other reasons for rushing to Boniadi's defense. "Did he reveal to you the relationship he was having with Nazanin Boniadi? We discovered this simply by Googling his name and hers. Here is our question: is it Paul Haggis who started a relationship with Boniadi while auditioning and casting his last film, The Next Three Days? What is the motivation here?" (At this point in time, claims that Haggis and Boniadi were involved romantically are simply that -- claims the Church has made. They have not been substantiated by any other sources).
"Both Paul Haggis and Nazanin Boniadi are members of a small self-proclaimed 'posse' of anti-Scientology apostates founded by self-admitted liars and suborners of perjury," the rep adds. "This posse has been selling stories to the highest bidder for years . . . In recent weeks, they have exploited this high profile divorce in any way they can by spreading lies to draw attention to themselves so they an make money shilling their self-published books." (After nearly six years together, Cruise, 50, and third wife Katie Holmes finalized their divorce last month.)