Simon Cowell can't escape the coif, Bai Ling has a hungry pussy, Mel Gibson throws sticks and stones, and the Brangelina+Gosselin vortex will sink us all.
• It wouldn't be fashion's biggest night without a bit of drama thrown in to spice things up. Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington are reportedly skipping the Costume Institute gala this evening, possibly because Kate Moss was chosen to co-chair the event; meanwhile, Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaia, and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are all staying home, perhaps because Marc Jacobs has "commandeered the event" by buying two tables and dressing Moss, Madonna, and Kerry Washington. [P6]
• The Chelsea Clinton wedding rumors continue: The Boston Globe reports the former first daughter and Marc Mezvinsky may get hitched at Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen's home on Martha's Vineyard in August, which is when the Obamas will be in town, too. [BG, NYDN]
• Kelly Killoren Bensimon says picking on her has become "the new recession vocation." Sounds about right. [R&M]
Andrew Morton, best-selling biographer of Tom Cruise, says some Scientologists believe the actor's daughter with Katie Holmes carries the spirit and maybe even the DNA of the sect's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. What else do adherents believe? Despite the fuss around Tom Cruise's manic Scientology video, published here, I didn't have the patience to go through all the background material. (Some of Scientology's critics are even more rabid, and paranoid, than the sect's zealots.) But there's a solution: the South Park's episode, in which one character is briefly lured into the cult, is still up on the web, although Tom Cruise forced the cartoon show's owner Viacom to stop airing the episode on television. In this excerpt, Stan learns Scientology's extraordinary doctrine: that human beings are haunted by the souls of frozen aliens, captured and brainwashed by the evil galactic overlord, Xenu. Bonus fact: Mark Ebner, the Hollywood investigative reporter who first leaked the Tom Cruise video, consulted on this South Park episode. Though it's a cartoon, and mocking in tone, this is a pretty accurate summary of Scientology's far-fetched central narrative. And, blessedly, it's short.
With two bursting-at-the-seams tell-all books out this month delving deeper than anyone wants to go into the demented world of Scientology, authors Ian Halperin (Hollywood Undercover) and Andrew Morton (Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography) are turning against each other, kind of like Xanax and cocaine. According to Halperin, the one who posed as a gay actor in order to uncover the Church's reparative techniques, Morton's book is "full of factual errors," most twisted his claim that Tom is scientology's second most powerful member:
Once upon a time, all the townsfolk claimed that Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor made a baby on the set of high-kicktastic Moulin Rouge. Well, maybe not a baby, but they made some placenta, according to a new tome by journalist Andrew Morton called Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography (you may have heard of it). Morton claims that little Placenta lived on, literally, in one of Nicole Kidman's various homes, in the event of a paternity dispute from then-normal (and then-husband) Tom. But wait! No story about TC and baby glands would be complete without a statement from the Church of Scientology!
The Church of Scientology, and Tom Cruise, the organization's most prominent evangelist, are both notoriously litigious. The sect's founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, wrote in a 1955 magazine article, "The purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and discourage rather than to win." At the peak in the 1990s, according to the St. Petersburg Times, the organization spent $30m in one year on legal action, in part to win tax-exempt status as a religion, but also to parry and tire its many critics. So it's hardly surprising that the Scientologists' lawyers would at least threaten a huge lawsuit against the author of this week's controversial new biography of Tom Cruise, which also exposes many of the sect's most embarrassing secrets. Nor that Gawker Media has received a copyright infringement notice. Below, the request to remove clips posted to Gawker and Defamer as part of our coverage of the Tom Cruise biography; and, after that, Gawker's refusal to comply. (And here's the video the Scientologists want to suppress, of the Hollywood star's wild-eyed claims that Scientologists are "the authorities on the mind and.. the way to happiness".)
The Church of Scientology has disseminated a detailed response to Andrew Morton's unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, the Hollywood star and, according to Morton, the sect's number two in all but name. Let's look at the Scientologists' strongest contention. "For the last two years, the Church of Scientology requested to be interviewed or be presented with any allegations so we could respond. Morton refused despite our insistence in offering our cooperation. At no time did he request interviews nor did he attempt to get any information from us." True?
With Andrew Morton's book on one of Hollywood's most controversial and misunderstood leading men, Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography (the U.S. version, with all appopriate Ss replaced by Zs, releases simultaneously), now on store shelves, the heir to Kitty Kelley's loosely sourced, utterly shocking biographical exposé legacy has taken to the interview circuit to promote his work.
"To understand Tom Cruise, you have to understand Scientology. I've done it not in a way that is adversarial, but as a biographer. I want to understand what makes Tom Cruise tick. I am doing no more than responsible journalism, responsible writing." (Oh, and Cruise biographer Andrew Morton also threw in a story about Katie Holmes' impregnation by L. Ron Hubbard's sperm.)
Andrew Morton hits the talk shows today to promote his unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, the actor and Scientology pin-up boy. Excerpts from the book are up on MSNBC but — more interesting — are the Church of Scientology's talking points. The release rebuts Morton's most sensational claims: that the Hollywood star is the number two of the church, or cult (whichever you prefer); that the church planted a field of flowers for Cruise and his new wife, Katie Holmes, to run through; or that Katie Holmes may have been impregnated with the sperm of L. Ron Hubbard, author of Dianetics and the bizarre religion's founder. Whom to believe?
Andrew Morton's new "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography" is filled with interesting tidbits about the maniacal Scientologist and professional short person. What are some of the salient plot points? Well, for one, Tom Cruise Is Not Gay. Or so Morton's sources say. One class-act whom Miss Cruise dated in high school says "I was black and blue from the gearshift." (Ew.) But more enlightening are the eyewitness testimonies that, gasp!, Tommy was uncomfortable around gay men! He stormed out of a production of the musical La Cage aux Folles! And he apparently wasn't too keen on hanging out with ex-wife Nicole Kidman's geigh friends, "much preferring the company of jocks," Morton says. Ahem.