Paul Haggis defends actress caught up in Scientology drama
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 3:53p.m.
Screenwriter and moviemaker Paul Haggis has offered his public support to Iranian actress Nazinin Boniadi after she was named in a controversial new Vanity Fair article linking her to Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology.
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."
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5/09/2012 4:29:32 p.m.
The entire story is hogwash. There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride for any member of the Church. Never. 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 4 years ago.
As for Paul Haggis, he is a status obsessed apostate who exploited a tenuous connection with Scientology to grab headlines when he resigned from the Church when he had not been an active parishioner for decades. 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.
Paul Haggis cannot confirm the “truth” of this fictional story. Was he there when it supposedly occurred? How could he be a reliable source? Because he says someone told him something does that make it true? No. In fact, it now appears to us that the story is actually about Paul Haggis and something he did. Did he reveal the relationship he was having with Nazanin Boniadi? We discovered this by simply googling his name and hers. (http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Nazanin+Boniadi/Paul+Haggis) 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? Both Paul Haggis and Nazanin Boniadi are members of a small self-proclaimed group of anti-Scientology apostates who have been selling stories to the highest bidder for years, including the now defunct, News of the World and Life & Style. In recent weeks, they have exploited this high profile divorce by spreading lies to draw attention to themselves so they can make money shilling their self-published books.
Anyone who wants to know the true story of Scientology should find out for themselves by coming to a Church of Scientology, or go to the Church’s website. www.scientology.org.
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