Paul Haggis has weighed in on the Church of Scientology on numerous occasions, and now he has blasted the media for not pressing Tom Cruise to do the same during interviews promoting “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”
As TheWrap exclusively reported in July, the movie star’s PR people actually prohibited news outlets from asking questions about his personal life and Scientology during his worldwide promotional tour for the fifth installment of the blockbuster franchise.
“His PR people are very smart. But I don’t know how journalists can continue to call themselves journalists if they aren’t brave enough to ask a question,” Haggis told The Daily Beast. “I mean, how big does the elephant in the room have to be before you ask about it?”
Haggis has not only written at length about his experience with Scientology — a religion he defected from in 2009 over the the Church’s endorsement of anti-LGBT legislation Proposition 8 — but appeared on camera to share the dark side of the tax-exempt organization in Alex Gibney’s documentary, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.”
The documentary was included in his PR team’s strict “no personal questions” caveat for access to the star, an individual with knowledge of the press tour told TheWrap.
“Well, fine, but there are things called journalistic integrity, and there are things more important than promoting a movie sometimes,” Haggis said. “It was so glaringly obvious. There was this huge elephant there, and every journalist agreed not to address it. Why? You’re just a PR person at that point. Shame on you.”
Since the interview with Haggis was published, the Church of Scientology has released a statement to the media that accuses the former member of exploiting his connection to the organization in an effort to remain “relevant.”
“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,” the Church told the Huffington Post.
Haggis’ six-part HBO miniseries, written by David Simon (“The Wire”), wraps up with two more hour-long episodes debuting this Sunday.