Tom Cruise's Scientology Birthday Party Sounds Insane

Okay, so we all think Tom Cruise is kind of nuts with the Scientology thing, right? I mean, I don't normally knock people for their religious choices, but I'm going to go ahead and make an exception in this case. Tom Cruise + Church of Scientology = *twirls finger next to temple*

Even if I wasn't already convinced Cruise's position in the church was bizarre at best and cultish at worst, this recent story from one-time Scientology member Valeska Paris would have sealed the deal. According to her claims, not only was she held against her will on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds for more than a decade -- she was essentially forced into slave labor for Tom Cruise's 42nd birthday party.

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Paris says she was born into a Scientology family, and started working in Scientology's Sea Org when she was just 14 -- a job that required her to sign a billion-year contract.

(Yes. BILLION-year. And you thought
your HR department was a pain in the ass.)

Paris started working on the organization's religious cruise ship when she was 18, where she alleges she was constantly
made to do hard labor and never allowed to leave the ship without an escort. You can read all the freaky details, but suffice to say if she's telling the truth, there are some seriously disturbing things going on in the Scientology organization. I mean, her experience sounds about as cultlike as it gets.

The cruise ship hosted Cruise's birthday party in 2004, and by Paris's account, it sounds like the preparations for the event were ... well, fairly detailed:

(Church leader) David Miscavige saw that I had a cold sore, and I was assigned to lower conditions and I was put in isolation for 4 days. (...) He said, "Tom Cruise is coming and I need really good service, so who's going to serve him?" A woman spoke up. "No, no, it can't be a woman, because he's so good looking, any woman would fall for him." So a guy had to take the job.

She also claims three young women were "disciplined" after the party:

They were trying to get Tom's attention. So they were put in the engine room.

For their part, the Church of Scientology has released a statement saying that Paris's claims are false, and that "she was there of her own free will as part of her religious commitment to the Church of Scientology." Also, Paris very well may be getting sued soon, since the church has all sorts of confidentiality agreements.

It's hard to know if everything happened as Paris says, but it's certainly unnerving. Not only is the organization itself beyond weird, but it's like Tom Cruise is their GOD or something. Everything about this story actually makes that Oprah-couch-jumping business seem normal, and that's no small feat.


What do you think about this woman's story? Do you believe she really was kept on a Scientology ship for years on end?



Image via Flickr/eridius

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