Church of Scientology officials have released a statement dismissing a new Vanity Fair article which suggests an Iranian actress was vetted as a potential partner for Tom Cruise and punished when she told friends about the failed romance.
The magazine's editors released an excerpt of Maureen Orth's expose, in which the investigative journalist names Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi as the former Church member who was 'audited' as the movie star's potential mate.
Scientology leaders quickly dismissed the report and now they're calling the piece "hogwash" in an official statement.
In the statement obtained by WENN, a Church spokesperson writes, "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 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."
The representative also took aim at writer and filmmaker Paul Haggis, an outspoken former Scientologist, who backed up Orth's Vanity Fair article and defended his friend Boniadi in an email to website Showbiz411.com on Sunday.
Haggis stated: "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."
But, according to the spokesperson, Haggis is simply "attempting to grab headlines and falsely slander his former religion."
The rep adds, "No Church members were 'used,' nor were they punished, nor silenced. This is totally false."
Orth's article suggests Boniadi was ordered to scrub lavatories with a toothbrush after allegedly breaching confidentiality agreements when she turned to friends for support following her reported dalliance with Cruise.