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Tom cans top gun in sect spat

New York Daily News, USA
Mar. 13, 2004
Joanna Molloy, Daily News Gossip Columnist
www.nydailynews.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday March 13, 2004

Tom Cruise has fired one of his closest advisers in a split that rocked Hollywood.

The “Last Samurai” star canned Hollywood megapublicist Pat Kingsley this week after months of strained relations about his involvement in Scientology, sources said yesterday.

Celebrities and Scientology

“The Church of Scientology uses celebrity spokesmen to endorse L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings and give Scientology greater acceptability in mainstream America. As far back as 1955, Hubbard recognized the value of famous people to his fledgling, off-beat church when he inaugurated ‘Project Celebrity.’ According to Hubbard, Scientologists should target prominent individuals as their “quarry” and bring them back like trophies for Scientology. [...] Celebrities are considered so important to the movement’s expansion that the church created a special office to guide their careers and ensure their ‘correct utilization’ for Scientology. The church has a special branch that ministers to prominent individuals, providing them with first-class treatment. Its headquarters, called Celebrity Centre International, is housed in a magnificent old turreted mansion on Franklin Avenue, overlooking the Hollywood Freeway.
- The Selling of a Church: The Courting of Celebrities

“He was talking more and more about Scientology,” a source said. “She was counseling him not to. It became an issue.”

But Kingsley insisted to the News last night it was an “amicable parting.”

“I adore the guy,” she said. “I have the greatest respect for him professionally and personally. We’ve had a great ride.”

Kingsley became Cruise’s spokeswoman 14 years ago with “Far and Away.”

She dealt with controversies such as the end of his marriage to Nicole Kidman. Kidman says she learned of her own breakup from a Kingsley press release.

Cruise, a member of the Church of Scientology for years, has been talking more recently about its controversial beliefs – saying, for instance, “psychiatry should be outlawed.”

“He’s surrounded himself with Scientology factotums now and so she had to go,” a source said of Kingsley.

But Cruise’s sister LeeAnne Devette, also a Scientologist, says: “That is completely untrue. It was an amicable separation and the two remain friends. He still cares a great deal for Pat. Clearly, it was time for a change. It was a decision he came to.”

As for Cruise’s role in Scientology, she said: “In earlier years, he didn’t talk about Scientology, and everybody said he was keeping it a big mystery. Now, he talks about it and it’s wrong. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

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