When Tom Cruise was promoting "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" this summer, The Wrap reported that the actor's PR team banned journalists from asking him about the Church of Scientology, at least in order to secure an interview. Out of those who did talk to Cruise (The Huffington Post was not among them), no one seemed to pop the forbidden questions. Both Salon and The Atlantic questioned why the media, who voraciously covered Alex Gibney's Scientology doc "Going Clear" (us included) earlier this year, suddenly went soft when it came to interviewing celebrities associated with the Church. Now filmmaker and former Scientologist Paul Haggis is criticizing journalists as well.
"I don’t know how journalists can continue to call themselves journalists if they aren’t brave enough to ask a question," Haggis recently told The Daily Beast in an interview about his new HBO miniseries. The filmmaker resigned from the Church in 2009 and has since been vocal about his experience as a Scientologist, appearing in "Going Clear." He said that sometimes movie coverage should come second to asking important questions. "There was this huge elephant there, and every journalist agreed not to address it," he told The Daily Beast. "Why? You’re just a PR person at that point. Shame on you."
Gibney's documentary, which was based on the 2013 Lawrence Wright book of the same name, specifically calls out Cruise and his lack of commentary on the allegations against the Church. At a screening of "Going Clear" in March, Gibney said, "Cruise is the big kahuna and that's why we've gone to the trouble of calling him out. We believe that he has a responsibility to say something about the abuse."
UPDATE: When asked for comment on Haggis' remarks, Karin Pouw, a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology, told The Huffington Post in a statement:
"The Church of Scientology has no interest in being exploited to publicize Paul Haggis’s next made-for-TV project or to convince his skeptics that he is relevant again."
For the full interview with Haggis, head to The Daily Beast.
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