EXCLUSIVE -- Paul Haggis On Scientology's Crude Retaliation: "They Are Bullying A Woman Who Has Yet To Even Speak"

Categories: Scientology

PaulHaggis.JPG
Haggis strikes back
The Voice received an e-mail this morning from Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis after we asked him about the Church of Scientology's attack on him and Nazanin Boniadi which appeared on Us Weekly's website yesterday.

Over the weekend, Haggis spoke up to defend Boniadi -- who acted in his movie The Next Three Days -- when she turned out to be the subject of this month's Vanity Fair in a story about her being one of several women who were "auditioned" in 2004 by Scientology to become the next girlfriend for Tom Cruise. According to a teaser of that story published on Vanity Fair's website Saturday, Boniadi dated Cruise for about three months before she somehow displeased both Cruise and the church's leader, David Miscavige. As a result, she was punished with cleaning toilets with a toothbrush and other indignities.

Haggis spoke up in a statement to journalist Roger Friedman which appeared on Sunday, saying "I'm appalled that any church would treat its parishioners this way."

Scientology struck back yesterday, with an official statement that was delivered by an unnamed spokesperson -- whose identity was hidden by Us Weekly, a decision we questioned earlier -- accusing Haggis of being in a relationship at some point with Boniadi.

Read Haggis's response to that accusation after the jump...

Here's what Haggis sent us, written, he tells us, "in the passenger seat in a scout van in Naples"...

Thanks for your note regarding Scientology's statement. I have a movie to make and truly don't want to be pulled into this mud pile.

As I have been told, my previous statement has been construed as collaborating Vanity Fair's story. Like everyone else, I have not even read their story.

I was not present when any of the things they describe in their "teaser" took place and have claimed no special knowledge of them. I am simply coming to the defense of a woman who has been publicly called a liar.

When I was told her story three years ago, I found it very disturbing -- especially how she was punished and silenced. I thought it very credible. Perhaps it's just me, but I have never found Scientology's blanket denials equally credible.

l know Naz to be a woman of principle and commitment to the service of others, as should be obvious by her work with Amnesty International, and I have been proud to stand with her and other friends in more than one demonstration against injustice and tyranny, and in support of people wrongly imprisoned and cruelly treated.

I did not see a representative from the Church of Scientology at any of those demonstrations. I will let people make up their own minds as who they find credible and who they don't. Me, I know where I stand. But it is my understanding that Naz is the subject of this article, not the source of it. Scientology has a long and well-documented history of attempting to bully its critics into silence. Here they are bullying a woman who has yet to even speak. I guess I just don't like bullies.

HaggisBoniadiAmnesty.jpg
Paul Haggis and Nazanin Boniadi at a 2011 Amnesty International demonstration in New York City. [Credit: Diane Bondareff/Insider Images for Amnesty International]

Haggis and Boniadi were both members of the Church of Scientology and left it at about the same time. Haggis went on to talk to Lawrence Wright of the New Yorker for a major story that appeared in that magazine last year. Boniadi has not yet spoken publicly about her time in the church, even though she is the subject of this week's Vanity Fair cover story.


UPDATE: Ashley Lutz at Business Insider has what she calls the most interesting parts of Maureen Orth's cover story in this month's Vanity Fair. Some of them are items that we've written about here previously at the Voice.

-- "Scientology claims eight million people around the world practice the religion. Orth says the number could be as low as 40,000." That's the same conclusion we came to.

-- "When Cruise was married to Kidman, he 'drifted away' from the church, Marty Rathbun, a former member, told Orth. The organization still had a staff that tracked the couple," Lutz writes. In January, we first broke the story about how Scientology spied on the Cruise household with the use of Cruise's personal assistant.

-- "Cruise and Holmes were reportedly happy in the beginning of their relationship." We think Orth got this from John Brousseau, who told us the same thing in our lengthy story about him.

Lutz lists other very interesting details from Orth's story. Can't wait to find a copy for myself.

And now I have. Go here to read our notes on Orth's story.


See also:
"Tom Cruise worships David Miscavige like a god"
Scientology's president and the death of his son: our complete coverage
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad
Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige's vanished wife: Where's Shelly?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting

Please check out our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.


**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.


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199 comments
SeaCricket
SeaCricket

Tony O. may be departing the VV, but that doesn't mean we can't keep talking about CO$.  If you've enjoyed the commenting community here and would like to stay informed and involved, here's a link to a google group started by some VV regulars.  Recommended that you create a new gmail account without any personally identifying information if you are concerned about revealing your identity.  Hope to see you there!

 

https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!forum/Scientology-Rodeo-Watchers-From-the-Village-Voice 

 

Valliyana
Valliyana

@VoiceTonyO Wonder what stupid name #Scientology has given this "operation?" They're like children with all their covert operation names!

Echo2Zs
Echo2Zs

@VoiceTonyO Interesting the lady in question is now following you

Jgg2012
Jgg2012

  Some potentially good news--Katie Holmes just signed a cosmetics deal with a major cosmetics line.  It used to be that a celebrity who offended Scientology was no longer marketable.  To an extent, this is still true (Oprah and Barbara Walters won't want them) but it appears that the fear of Scientology is much less.  Maybe Naz can become super famous, and, if she does, it will work against Scientology. 

caseybc
caseybc

Paul Haggis is a man of honor.  The fact that he comes to the aid of a friend to set the record straight is taking responsibility.  The COS spokesperson (un-named because it is probably DM himself) is uninformed, blinded, lacks responsibility, truth and any ounce of humanity! Those left in the COS will continue to lie, cheat, make up stories, whatever it takes to be right! it is really very sad.

BosonStark
BosonStark

A representative for the Church of Scientology and Tom Cruise's penis, has said that there is no truth to the rumor that they suggested Nazanin have her "incisors filed down." If they ever did suggest that, it would be for cosmetic reasons only and to help her career, not to make her more Tom Cruise wife-ready.

They would like to add that filed or not, both of her incisors are defrocked apostate incisors, and only lies pass through them.

Lulzy1
Lulzy1

Get out your umbrellas people. 'Tis a lovely shitstorm brewing!

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

In Ashley Lutz's brief review in Business Insider she includes this note:

 

"When Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi made the cut, Orth says that Scientologists persuaded her to end her relationship with her boyfriend. They then took her shopping at Saks and Burberry to cheer her up."

 

On behalf of All women who gave up boyfriends because of scientology,  I say we should gather together for a class action suit and Demand our Saks shopping trip!  Did anyone else get a Saks shopping trip?  I didn't think so.  Perusing the sales now.

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

So scientology's leader, David Miscavige, doesn't vet and arrange marriages?  Is that what the unnamed scientology spokesperson just stated? 

 

How about all the forced marriages to hold on to the dwindling supply of one of their headquarters,  Flag, in Clearwater, Florida beginning in 2006.   All the foreign staff were ordered to get married to U.S. Citizens before their special Visa's expired.  Over the next few years, Miscavige double and tripled effors and lobbying $$ to change the immigration laws.  Videos of staff boarding scientology buses evidence a high percentage of foreign recruits as recently as August 2012.   One of Tom Smith's,  On the Edge radio programs within the last year was an interview with an Eastern European or Russian who exposed his force marriage under scientology orders and the threats if he did not comply.  I can't find that interview script at the moment, but here's the link on the 2006 Orders and Vetting of Foreign Scientologists ordered by Miscavige to get married in order to acquire Green Cards, and also link regarding accelerated lobbying re:  immigration, which I believe is posted by Karen de la Carriere.   In addition, there are literally over a thousand reports from former members that include being coerced and threatened to divorce, to marry,  many times over. 

 

http://www.scientology-cult.com/green-card-marriages-fso-style.html

 

http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?25271-David-Miscavige-s-abuses-and-violence/page12

 

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

From the Ashley Lutz piece:

 

"Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise went their separate ways after she was dismissed by Scientology leader David Miscavige for maintaining her Buddhist beliefs."

 

So much for Scientology's claim that it's closely akin to Buddhism (and LRH's alleged - though apparently brief - moment as the reincarnation of the Buddha!)

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

Thanks for the e-mail Paul Haggis.

 

As far as seeing Scientology representatives at those demonstrations, well we all know that you're going about helping people the wrong way. You don't save the world by going to people in distress and holding out your hand to grab theirs. You sit in a room and let electricity run through your body while performing exorcisms. That's how you save the world. Damnit man, don't you get it!

ClamOnAHalfshell
ClamOnAHalfshell

 @Jgg2012 Babwa Wawa won't live forever. Although she does seem to be perpetually the same age.

DMSTCC
DMSTCC

 @BosonStark If Tom Cruise could have donated more $$$ to opening the Super powers building perhaps they could have filed down her brain. Cruise failed C0$ again.

PeggyToo
PeggyToo

 @TheProprietor

 Damn you Tony!!!! It wasn't bad enough that I was already flipping between two stories, now you add a third.  My head is spinning. ;-)

stella
stella

 @NOTseriously He said it was long and boring!  And oh yeah, also false.  That is funny because in reality it is a pot-boiler of a read.  As if by his pronouncement being quoted, potential  readers will be dissuaded from reading!  

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @PreferToBeAnon Thanks for the link.  

Actors just love juicy roles in indies.  Unfortunately they do not often love the paychecks.  You hear a lot from A list actors, "It's so hard to find a great script/part these days."  No.  They are definitely out there, and then some. It's hard to find a great script/part that will meet your price.  Or that can get funding from anywhere (almost never from the big studios.)

The really great actors do the "money jobs" in order to be able to do the low budget indies that challenge them.  There are a lot of actors who have reached a certain level who simply are not interested in cutting their asking price or slumming it in an indie that might get a limited release.  They figure they are so big, they don't have to.

You'll notice that many of the indies at Toronto are not really so small after all.   This is the reason.

LaLa104
LaLa104

I posted this also on the other article.. Very different from ABC's interview.

jensting
jensting

 @PoisonIvy Oh, I'm so glad to hear it wasn't because of Ms Cruz's early films including some that were slightly too racy for the taste of David Miscavige.

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @dbloch7986 Passing out "The Way to Happiness" booklets is also a very effective way to help people at the scene of disasters.  Especially disaster victims who have lost loved ones and everything they ever owned.  And the ones who can't read.

Delling
Delling

 @PreferToBeAnon How about we each order one .... to the OSA slaves who have to monitor the entire Internet at once right now. We all know they won't be eating anything but rice and beans for some time in the future.

 

On a side note, I have some torrents with Scilon material running constantly, last few days they've been maxing out the bandwith I allow for them. Currently going constant at allocated 1Mbit. Don't worry, I allow them to go much faster when I sleep.

LaLa104
LaLa104

 @PreferToBeAnon

 Oh so today it's pizza! Yesterday it was tacos.. It's a regular caffeteria here at The VV.

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

 @PreferToBeAnon You son of a bitch. I was just thinking about ordering pizza tonight and then I remembered that I am broke. LOL

Delling
Delling

 @stella Darn, it seems like I need to get this magazine... I wonder if it exists where I live. *searches*

Holy prices! People pay that for a couple of sheets of paper?! It also won't get here for 2 weeks... Guess I need to lurk some darker places on the net....

WhereIsSHE
WhereIsSHE

@ SeaCricket  Leave the Louboutins to the masses. All of you should demand the Stuart Weitzman Cindarella Slippers. They are absolutely stunning (and would set the cult back $2mil per pair;) (or you could go easy on them and demand an array of Leon Verres luxury shoes=)

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @PoisonIvy  @dbloch7986 I am sure the Haitian earthquake victims who, crouched in the rubble of their shanties, read their booklets rather than immediately trying to fashion them into crude papier mache casts or using them for toilet paper, were highly motivated by the last precept, "Live a prosperous life."  A country so poor that its per capita GDP in the best of times is the lowest in the western hemisphere (and is half that of impoverished North Korea) needs a lot more help than a simple platitude saying "live a prosperous life" in order to get itself out of the gutter.  What an insult TWTH is in such circumstances! 

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

 @Delling  @PreferToBeAnon I'd love to start a collection to send a giant order of pizza to OSA headquarters and say, "We know you are all working late hours as a result of the recent media outbreaks. Please enjoy this pizza. Sincerely, Defrocked Apostates"

sugarplumfairy32
sugarplumfairy32

@dbloch7986 start writing.. you have a marketable skill..

SeaCricket
SeaCricket

 @WhereIsSHE dos millones de dolares?  holy crap!  are we marrying tom cruise or xenu himself?  

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PoisonIvy The richest woman in the world must have read the book!

 

All us poor people have to do is work harder and we can have 40 billion bucks like her!

xenubarb
xenubarb

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PoisonIvy  @dbloch7986 

Telling a bereft Haitian to "live a prosperous life" is like Homer Simpson training his racehorse by whispering, "Run faster than the other horses" in its ear.

Delling
Delling

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PoisonIvy  @dbloch7986 

If they can be used as toilet paper, I guess you could get a lot of them and a) put them to good use b) barter with them for whatever you could barter for. Great charity work, an economy in the making!

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