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The Church of Scientology ran a 60-second commercial in several major metropolitan markets including New York and Los Angeles during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday causing a stir among viewers.
“To the curious, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge,” an unseen narrator says.
“To the ones who just want to know about life, about the universe, about yourself.”
The controversial Church of Scientology aired a shorter 30-second version of its Knowledge spot in select cities during the AFC Championship two weeks ago. The video reportedly ran on television for the first time more than a month ago.
The Scientology organization paid close to $8 million to air the spot during Super Bowl game, which is the largest one-day televised event in terms of ad spending.
The Scientology ad features attractive young actors as well as images of caverns, scriptures, outer space and a mysterious looking fortuneteller stroking a crystal ball, among other cryptic scenery that runs over soft, hypnotic music.
“Not cute questions, big questions, one’s that matter,” the unseen narrator says.
“To the rebels, the artists, the free thinkers and the innovators who care less about labels and more about truth.”
The Church of Scientology ran a 60-second commercial in several major metropolitan markets including New York and Los Angeles during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday causing a stir among viewers
The ad is similar to Apple’s classic Think Different commercial from 1997, Buzzfeed and other media observers noted.
The reaction on Twitter and other social media sites was one of mockery, with several jabs from people in the video game industry.
“If your church has an ad during the Super Bowl it’s stops becoming a religion and starts becoming a punch line” Kevin Dent, chief operating officer of the mobile video game network P4RC wrote on Twitter after the spot ran.
“Hey America, if The Church of Scientology has enough cash to advertise during the Super Bowl, maybe it shouldn’t be tax exempt,” IGN.com editor Scott Lowe wrote on the site.
The Church of Scientology and its network of corporations, non-profits and other legal entities bring in more than $500 million a year from the organization’s paying members and other revenue sources according to a 2008 report in Upstart Business Journal.
The church is run like a franchise as each of its locations is separately incorporated and has its own local board of directors and executives responsible for that church’s activities and financial operations.
The first Scientology church was incorporated in December 1953 in Camden, New Jersey, by the religion’s founder L. Ron Hubbard, his wife Mary Sue Hubbard, and their colleague John Galusha.
L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer, said at that time: “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology.”
The church’s current members include several celebrities. Among them are actors Tom Cruise, Jason Lee and Juliette Lewis, rapper Doug E. Fresh, musician Beck and television host Greta Van Susteren.
Church of Scientology has come under fire in recent years for alleged accounts of bigotry, deceptive means of recruitment and smear campaigns against its opponents, among other reported violations.
The Scientology commercial’s YouTube page, which went live on December 18, had just 60,000 views as of Sunday night, compared with more than 7 million views for Volkswagen’s much talked about Get Happy Super Bowl commercial, which was posted on YouTube last week.
The Church of Scientology was responsible for “turning Tom Cruise’s children against their mother”, his ex-wife Nicole Kidman, according to new reports.
The claims were made in an excerpt from a controversial article about Scientology which is due to be published in Vanity Fair.
The allegations have been strongly rejected by a Scientology spokesman, which labelled the article “hogwash”.
The new report, published in Us Magazine, claims the home-schooled children, Bella and Connor Cruise, were sent on a course to teach them to recognize “suppressive persons”, such as their adoptive mother.
The article includes an interview with John Brousseau, who was a Scientologist for 32 years and is a former brother-in-law to the church leader David Miscavige.
Us Magazine claims that Bella and Connor Cruise were sent on a course to teach them to recognize “suppressive persons”, such as their adoptive mother Nicole Kidman
John Brousseau told the magazine: “They took a course, PTS/SP, Potential Trouble Source/Suppressive Person, for persons connected in their lives who are an SP.”
And he added: “[Bella and Connor] whispered to me, <<JB, Nicole is an SP! Our mom’s an SP – we hate going and seeing her>>.”
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise divorced in 2001. During their marriage they adopted two children together, Connor, now 17, and Bella, 19.
An earlier excerpt from the report, issued last week, claimed Scientology leaders had auditioned potential brides for Tom Cruise before he met and decided to marry his third wife Katie Holmes.
This was roundly denied by the church in a statement.
“The entire story is hogwash,” they said.
“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. Never.
“The allegation and entire premise of the Vanity Fair article is totally false.
“Like clockwork, stories about this <<phantom>> audition surface in the tabloids every few months.
“We have been denying this ridiculous tale now since it first appeared in print FOUR years ago.”
A spokesman for Tom Cruise also poured cold water on the article, saying: “Lies in a different font are still lies – designed to sell magazines.”
Tom Cruise’s lawyer Bert Fields has denied claims that the Church of Scientology embarked on a long-term “auditioning” process to find the actor a new partner, after his 2001 divorce from Nicole Kidman.
Bert Fields called a Vanity Fair report, previewed on the magazine’s website, “long, boring and false”.
He said it was “a rehash of tired old lies” run in the supermarket tabloids.
Tom Cruise and his third wife Katie Holmes divorced in July this year.
The article, written for October’s edition of Vanity Fair, claimed the top-secret project was led by Shelly Miscaviage, the wife of Scientology leader David, in 2004.
Tom Cruise and his third wife Katie Holmes divorced in July this year
Special correspondent Maureen Orth said she was told by “several sources” that actresses were quizzed by fellow Scientologists to find a suitable partner for Cruise, one of the organization’s most prominent proponents.
Actress Nazanin Boniadi, who was born in Iran and raised in the UK, told the magazine she was approached in 2004 and “audited”, before being selected to date Tom Cruise.
The article alleges their first date was conducted “with an entourage of Scientology aides”, but the relationship faltered after a few months and ended in 2005.
The Church of Scientology has spoken out against the feature in a statement.
“There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the church to find a bride (via audition or otherwise) for any member of the church. Never.”
It claimed the magazine relied on a small group of “anti-Scientologists” for information, who had “shamelessly exploited Tom Cruise’s divorce by spreading false and invented tabloid stories.”
Vanity Fair says it stands by the story and has denied claims that it paid its sources.
Maureen Orth is a long-time contributor to the magazine, who has interviewed Vladimir Putin and Margaret Thatcher, as well as writing investigative articles about the allegations of sexual abuse levelled against pop star Michael Jackson.
Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes, with whom he has a daughter Suri, in an Italian castle in November 2006.
Katie Holmes filed for divorce at the end of June this year and the couple announced they had agreed a settlement several weeks later.
A new report claims that the way Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes relationship started was bizarre – and the Church of Scientology was apparently to blame.
The secretive religious group organized an “audition” process to find Tom Cruise a wife, according to Vanity Fair, grilling dozens of young women to make sure they posed no threat to the church or its most famous member.
And Katie Holmes was apparently not the first choice – the church wanted Tom Cruise to marry a young actress who was already a Scientologist, but she was seen as disrespectful to religious leaders.
The shocking allegations about the origins of the stars’ six-year marriage are made by writer Maureen Orth in the October issue of Vanity Fair.
Maureen Orth claims that the project to identify a new partner for Tom Cruise, following the break-up of his relationships with Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz, started in 2004 and was headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of the church’s top official David Miscavige.
Scientology Church organized an “audition” process to find Tom Cruise a wife, claims Vanity Fair
A number of Scientologist actresses were interviewed by church leaders, according to former official Marc Headley, and told they were being considered for a role in a new training video.
However, they were faced with unexpected questions such as: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?”
Katie Holmes, who did not become a Scientologist until she started going out with Tom Cruise, was not part of this process.
Instead, Shelly Miscavige apparently chose Nazanin Boniadi, then 24, an Iranian-born actress who grew up in Britain, to be the megastar’s new partner.
Nazanin Boniadi was told she had been selected for “a very important mission”, and ordered to break up with her boyfriend.
When Nazanin Boniadi was flown to New York and taken for dinner by Tom Cruise at trendy restaurant Nobu, she began to suspect she was part of an elaborate set-up.
The pair went ice-skating at Rockefeller Center, where the rink had been closed for them, then spent the night together.
The actress, who has appeared in General Hospital, How I Met Your Mother and blockbuster Iron Man, was made to sign multiple confidentiality agreements over her relationship with Tom Cruise.
While the process which selected Nazanin Boniadi may have been arbitrary – one of the stipulations was that Tom Cruise could not go out with a woman who had ever been in a threesome – the star soon fell hard for the young woman.
However, Nazanin Boniadi was not affectionate enough towards her new boyfriend, Vanity Fair reports.
Tom Cruise was keen on extravagant romantic displays, and complained that the actress would not reciprocate his grand gestures.
Moreover, she was repeatedly in trouble for not respecting senior Scientologists – including Tom Cruise himself.
The first time they met, she congratulated him on winning a medal from the church, which apparently implied that she was superior to him.
And when she met Shelly Miscavige, she asked him to repeat himself because he was talking too fast.
When the couple had been dating for three months, Tom Cruise allegedly tired of his lover, and officials asked her to move out of his house in to the Scientology Celebrity Centre.
Her relationship with the star remained a secret, and Vanity Fair claims that she was once forced to do manual labor for telling a friend about the affair.
Scientology officials have dismissed several of the magazine’s sources as vindictive and unreliable, and deny the story about the wife search.
Just a few months after the break-up, Tom Cruise started seeing Katie Holmes, who converted to Scientology ahead of their marriage in November 2006.
Katie Holmes filed for divorce in June, and the split was finalized two weeks later.
Tom Cruise’s lawyer has threatened the National Enquirer with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over a new issue asserting it has details of the actor’s recent split with wife Katie Holmes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The website posted a letter from Tom Cruise’s Los Angeles attorney, Bert Fields, in which he blasts American Media Inc, parent of the National Enquirer, for what he calls “false and vicious lies”.
Bert Fields went on to add that the “lies” will cause “hundreds of millions of dollars” in damages to Tom Cruise.
“As you were notified in advance, your current issue of National Enquirer makes numerous false and defamatory assertions about our client Tom Cruise,” the three-page letter begins.
Tom Cruise's lawyer has threatened the National Enquirer with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over a new issue asserting it has details of the actor's recent split with Katie Holmes
The letter draws attention to disparaging descriptions of Tom Cruise in the Enquirer‘s issue that hit newsstands on Wednesday.
Bert Fields wrote: “These are all lies – vicious, hurtful, damaging lies.”
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have been the subject of hundreds of headlines worldwide since she filed for divorce from the actor two weeks ago, seeking sole custody of their six-year-old daughter, Suri.
Earlier this week, the couple agreed to a divorce and custody arrangement, but details were undisclosed.
Both have remained publicly silent about the issue, except for one joint statement in which they said they were working together to settle their differences in the best interest of Suri.
Speculation about a reason for the split has centered on Tom Cruise’s membership in the Church of Scientology, but that has never been confirmed by either the couple or their representatives.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have reached an agreement to settle their divorce, their representatives have confirmed.
“The case has been settled and the agreement has been signed,” Katie Holmes’ lawyer Jonathan Wolfe said in a statement to People magazine.
“We are thrilled for Katie and her family,” Jonathan Wolfe added.
A spokeswoman for Tom Cruise confirmed the settlement in an email to Reuters: “It is done.”
In a joint statement released earlier on Monday, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes said they were “working together” to settle custody of their daughter Suri, 6.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have reached an agreement to settle their divorce
“We are committed to working together as parents to accomplish what is in our daughter Suri’s best interests,” the statement read.
“We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other’s commitment to our respective beliefs and support each other’s roles as parents.”
It was revealed last month that Katie Holmes, 33, was filing for divorce.
At the time, a spokesman for Tom Cruise said: “Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children. Please allow them their privacy.”
It was Katie Holmes’s first marriage and Tom Cruise’s third.
The divorce brings to an end a relationship that began with very public declarations of affection.
Katie Holmes once admitted she had a childhood crush on the Hollywood celebrity, and kept posters of him on her bedroom wall. Tom Cruise famously jumped on a sofa on the Oprah Winfrey Show as he declared his love for the actress.
Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the couple was married by a Church of Scientology minister.
Tom Cruise, who turned 50 last week, was Hollywood’s highest-paid actor in 2011, and has starred in blockbusters such as Top Gun, Jerry Maguire and the Mission Impossible series.
Katie Holmes rose to fame as a leading actress on television drama Dawson’s Creek. She has also appeared in Batman Begins and Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark.