Home Celebrity Exclusive: Oscar Winner Paul Haggis on Tom Cruise Scientology Girlfriend: “I’m appalled...

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winning “Crash” writer-director Paul Haggis has confirmed for me the story of Naz Boniadi, the beautiful Iranian born actress whom Scientology tried to groom as Tom Cruise’s girlfriend in 2004-2005. Vanity Fair has just released a teaser of their extraordinary story (kudos to Graydon Carter) about Cruise’s auditioning of women to be his wife in the months leading up to his choosing of Katie Holmes in April 2005. Haggis left Scientology two years ago, which I wrote about extensively. His exit was then chronicled in the New Yorker. Haggis confirms Boniadi’s saga, and tells me that she, too, has left the cult. Here’s his email to me from Rome, where he ‘s prepping a film. Haggis says he will have no other comment on this situation beyond this:

“I’ve known Nazanin for about three years.  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.  Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this 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.  It wasn’t just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting.

After I wrote my resignation letter, a dozen or more “friends” and officials of the church repeatedly descended on me to demand that I destroy the letter and resign quietly.  I told them that wasn’t an option for me.  I also told them that I had more sources of information about the troubling nature of the organization then I was at liberty to divulge. This was one.

I’ve met quite a number of people who have been treated shamefully but are afraid to speak out.  This story will draw attention because of our fascination with celebrity.  Most of the others are just ordinary people whose stories, if told, would not appear in a magazine.  They live in fear of retribution, legal, financial or personal, even some famous ones.  They fear an incredibly wealthy organization that boasts that it seeks truth, empowers people, brings families together, encourages independent thought and free speech, and champions human rights.  I would like to say that i don’t know how its members, many of them good and intelligent people, can remain so purposely blind when they are faced with evidence like this every day, but then I am no one to talk.  I was happily blind for many years, so I know the shame that Naz feels.

In Naz’s case, she has no right to feel ashamed.  She is not only a terrific actress at the beginning of a very promising career, she is a dedicated human rights activist and a truly lovely and caring person. 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.   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.”

He adds in a second email:

“And FYI, in case this wasn’t clear, Naz 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.”

42 replies to this post
  1. [...] “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 [Boniadi] and then so effectively silenced her when it was done. It wasn’t just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting,” Haggis told Showbiz 411. [...]

  2. [...] “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 [Boniadi] and then so effectively silenced her when it was done. It wasn’t just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting,” Haggis told Showbiz 411. [...]

  3. As a 52 year old “average” (normal) Mom who has no axe to grind with anyone here (not a Scientologist or ex-Scientologist), I’d just like to share my opinion of this church and it’s policies/procedures. I don’t believe a word that comes from the church. I do believe it’s a cult. I do believe all the stores I read from former members, including the article in Vanity Fair. And yes, I believe that David Miscaviage is a sociopath and a very dangerous one at that….I’m convinced that his wife, Shelly Miscaviage, was murdered either by DM or on his orders. I also believe that the current members are completely brainwashed (and they think we’re the brainwashed one’s), and that TC is in too deep to ever get out. I don’t think he’s a bad person, I think he got caught up in the perceived power position (ego) being offered to him and couldn’t see anything past that. Now he’s the #2 guy of a hilacious, abusive, criminal cult and there’s no way out.

    As an aside, I really don’t “get” Scientology at all. All this “clearing” talk is merely forgiveness. Of yourself and all others. All religions discuss it. Forgiving clears the blocks to achieving happiness and prosperity. It’s never been a secret. You don’t need a stupid meter for goodness sakes. The “power” to change lives, create realities, etc., is just good old fashion metaphysics. Again, it’s threaded throughout all religions….not exclusive to Scientology at all. I believe Jesus said “judge not least you be judged”, and Scientologists seem to judge everyone, espeicially each other. No one’s allowed to talk to someone who doesn’t think what they think, they shun their own families if they’re not all on the same page, and really – the stories of squirrels, SP’s, the hole…it’s just bat shit crazy.

  4. The above comment from Marion, is Scientologists Marion Pouw. Working hard as always to discredit anyone willing to tell the TRUTH about DM and the current state of CoS.

  5. [...] “I’ve known Nazanin for about three years. 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. Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this 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. It wasn’t just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting,” Paul wrote in an email to Showbiz 411. [...]

  6. I am a British ex-sea organization member who left to start a family, having been at the highest levels. i know and am in touch with many friends who are ex sea org members. I can say with 100% certainty that this would not have happened. believe what you want to believe folks but ask some people who were actually in the sea organization at the time – not just listen to that small handful of angry hate-spewing American ones who pose as the ‘experts’. Just a random comment, its interesting to note that Paul haggis did his best work when he was still in scientology… food for thought perhaps…?

  7. Thank you, Mr. Haggis, for exposing the fallacy of Scientology as the the Savior or the planet, etc. Now who will be brave enough to expose the largest and possibly the richest cult operating alongside Scientology today, The Mormon Church. As a Republican for most of my 65 years, it scares me to think of Mitt becoming our next President. They are a very secretive cult but you can find some of their weird practices online. Scary times for sure.

  8. For those that would doubt that Scientology is dangerous Google the name Lisa McPherson and spend some time reading about what they did to her. This is not a safe group of people to be involved with or to go against, also Google Scientology’s Fair Play doctrine to find out what happens if you write an article or book about them that they don’t like. Very scary stuff. They play dirty and they don’t stop.
    I have to add that as bad as I feel for the people who are attempting to break away from Scientology, I guess I’ll never understand what kind of numskull would trust a “church” that has a celebrity center. WTF is that supposed to be about? And I’m not even touching their ideology, that’s an entirely different WTF!

  9. The St. Petersburg Times did a huge exposé over three days a couple of years back. Since Clearwater (Scientology Is Headquartered there) is part of “the Tampa Bay area” – it may have been treated more as a local story, but it was withering. I’m sure a google search will find it. This cult is nearing the end of its 15 minutes.

  10. I must commend Paul on this article. Kirsty Alley recently gave an interview insulting Jews to justify Scientology. I was shocked. How can these people turn a blind eye in light of all of this information coming out? Tom Cruise is an extremely sick and confused individual. Shame on all of them.

  11. Thank you for stating it so clearly. You’re absolutely right, Mr. Haggis, that there are so many other stories out there of the destruction of this organization. At some point the critical mass will be reached and the walls will finally come crumbling down. Families and friends can be reunited, and widespread healing of those affected can begin. Your story was certainly an influence on my decision to leave as well, so thank you again.

  12. It’s good of Paul Haggis to confirm the truth of this woman’s experience — so scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush and everything? Wow! What will these freaks do next!

    Although embarrassing, Naz is among the least of the cult’s casualties, but it is outrageous for the way she was treated. In the end, she’s lucky. She found out the “church” is not a humanitarian organization, but quite the opposite — mainly a propaganda machine that puts on these epic PR productions every time they do something rather minor, and claim it is “saving the planet” or that they are the “only” ones with “all the answers.”

    “Naz” was a totally inappropriate selection for Cruise anyway. An award winning college graduate in biology, hitched to a high school dropout with a distinctly average intellect? Naz thought she could please Cruise by being herself, but seriously, Scientology only allows you to be yourself if your aren’t in the Sea Org, or dating their #1 couch jumping planet saver.

    Is there any way we can get all Scientology Scilebrities to be in Cruise’s next dating lineup, so they can wake up too?

  13. Anyone who wonders why Katie Holmes would give up all those mansions, private jets, and $150 million dollars just to get away from the guy should read that Vanity Fair article. All will become clear.

    Thanks Paul, for weighing in on this. Your opinion is respected.

  14. Thank you Paul Haggis!
    You are amazing director and a true friend. Nazanin Boniadi is a gorgeous, educated, classy & intelligent young lady with dignity. She is all about human rights. Tom Cruise is a high school drop off who has zero integrity and cares for no one but himself. Tom Cruise is fully responsible for all the crimes and abuses happening in the cult of scientology. Tom is fully aware of all David Miscavige’s crimes and human trafficking and even flows him power to continue so.
    I am so glad Nazanin Boniadi’s true story has been revealed in order to help others to learn more about Tom and his cult and NEVER join the church of Scientology.
    Nazanin Boniadi will continue to flourish and prosper beyond imagination.
    Paul Haggis, this world is a better place because of you and Nazanin Boniadi. Thank you!

  15. Dear Mr. Haggis,
    You sir are a class act.
    I am an ex-Corporte Scientologist and I believe every word you say here.
    Thanks for having the guts to speak out.

  16. Roger,

    Thank you for contacting Paul Haggis and sharing with us his thoughts on this matter. Paul is very courageous to come forward and confirm the story about Nazanin’s egregious treatment by the Church of scientology.

    You, showbiz411.com, Nazanin, Paul, and Vanity Fair have performed a tremendous public service by warning unsuspecting young women who might otherwize be drawn into this cult’s diabolical web of insanity, and Tom Cruizes devious designs.

  17. Thanks Paul, a much needed commentary and context to help give perspective to the latest in Scientology’s 62-year long crime wave of abuse.

    This (your post) is what Human Rights Advocacy looks like.

    Not the hyperbolic hypocrisy of Scientologist’s gaudy events where the perpetrators give each other “Freedom Medals”.

    Your voice resonates loudly and clearly–the simple truth.

  18. WOW…. the fact that Naz Boniadi left the cult 2 years ago because of the appalling way she was treated has totally thrown a different light on this story….. good for her!

    … ironically enough this might turn out to be a massive boost for her career now that the ‘she left the cult’ part is out in the open.

    Let’s hope so!

  19. There have been many sad tales over the past 60 years from those who became enmeshed in an organization whose bold promises of spiritual enlightenment turned out to be fairy gold.

    But the path through life takes many turnings and when a dead end is encountered, shrugging one’s shoulders and choosing another fork in the road is the proper route to one’s goals and desires.

    And with grace and dignity, this is what Nazanin has done.

  20. Synthia, I truly hope, that like Nazanin Boniadi and Paul Haggis, you are able to find the peace and reconciliation that you seek. Knowledge is always power and I hope you continue your search for knowledge.

  21. Thank you for speaking up, Paul Haggis, and thank you especially for mentioning that there are many others also suffering from the pernicious machinations of L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology but lack the celebrity required to draw media attention.

    MOAR!!

  22. Thank you Paul for speaking out. Many of my close friends suffer daily from te cruel and inhumane injustices of this psuedo religion & their voices are heard in a much smaller scale.THANK YOU

  23. What a great email. Thanks to Mr. Haggis and Naz, and the other brave defectors of this dangerous cult for telling us on the outside their stories. Hopefully someone will come forward to let us know how and why openly homophobic scientology has members like Travolta, and how they justify being in such a homophobic cult.

  24. Oh and Scientology sock puppets who come trying to spin this in any other way to make Mr Haggis’s words or Nazanin’s life look anything less than upstanding and kind, I warn you right here and now that you will come off looking mean, vindictive, vitriolic and socially inept. Don’t do it. Leave it alone.

  25. Mr Haggis, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Having now been, via the Vanity Fair article, introduced to Nazanin Boniadi and having now educated myself on her outstanding Human Rights activism (quite apart from the Church of Scientology that boasts about championing Human Rights while treating its staff and members in despicable ways) I see that she is a bright, sophisticated, kind and caring woman who exemplifies every single solitary thing that the Church of Scientology does not.

    This organization is a vicious cult. Having been a member for almost 25 years, I am appalled and ashamed of what I unwittingly supported. The voluminous atrocities that I have not only become aware of but have also witnessed have got to stop.

    You and Nazanin have class and I very much appreciate the way that you handled your resignation and I know that you do not have, as your goal, to make this about any one individual.

    Having said that, allow me to say that Tom Cruise has a lot of serious soul searching and recognition of some core character flaws resulting in reparation of said flaws before I would ever consider him to be anymore than an arrogant, misogynistic cad.

    I admire the refined way that Nazanin handled this and did not use the situation for cheap fame or other nefarious means equal to his actions. She transcended and rose above it. May she experience a long, successful career and fulfillment of her innermost personal aspirations in a way fitting of the grace and style she has already displayed.

What do you think?