Australia’s major book retailers have bowed to pressure from the Church of Scientology and will not stock the controversial biography on Tom Cruise by British writer Andrew Morton. Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography will hit American shelves on January 15 and has already generated its fair share of controversy.
The book is seen by the powerful Church of Scientology, which has Cruise as of its most high profile and loyal members, as an attack on its teachings.
The extremely litigious religious group has already threatened legal action against Morton in the US under the country’s celebrity defamation laws because Morton has shown a “reckless disregard” for the truth.
Under UK libel laws the book, expected to be a bestseller, will not be published and now it appears Australian readers will not get a chance to read it either.
Several large book retail chains were contacted by The Sunday Age this week and asked if they would be stocking the book.
Dymock’s, when first contacted, said they saw “no reason” why they would not be selling the book.
But a spokeswoman later issued a statement to the contrary. “We take all accusations of defamation very seriously and as a result we won’t be stocking the book,” she said.
The book claims scientologists threatened to blackmail Nicole Kidman if she spoke out against the controversial religion after her failed marriage to Cruise.
The book goes on to say that Cruise has become the de-facto second in charge within the Church of Scientology.
Angus & Roberston spokeswoman Kate Jones said none of its stores would stock the book.
“Although there is huge public interest in the book, there are certain legal issues that have occurred overseas and with all of the risks involved we will not be stocking it,” she said.
Cruise rejects all of the claims made in the book, and Scientology lawyers are preparing to sue its publishers.
St Martin’s Press spokesman Steve Troha said:
“We stand by our book and our author.”
The book also claims:
Cruise’s child, Suri, was conceived when Katie Holmes was impregnated with the frozen sperm of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard;
In 1999, Scientologists asked Cruise to take a course that would help pinpoint “those in his life who create problems and difficulties”, the book claims. That person, Morton claimed, was Nicole Kidman. Cruise divorced Kidman in March 2001; and
Cruise hooked up with Spanish screen siren Penelope Cruz but, the book claims, the relationship ended after Cruz’s dad, who the book claims shunned the sect, had a heart attack in December 2003.