UK press regulator upholds complaint by leader of Scientology over Mail Online article

The article claimed to feature 'exclusive' details of the relationship between Tom Cruise and David Miscavige

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David Miscavige. Image: YUI MOK / PA Archive/Press Association Images

The UK press regulator has upheld a complaint by the head of Scientology over an article on the Mail Online website.

In December 2015, the site published an article with the headline: "Exclusive: inside the ‘bromance’ of Tom Cruise and Scientology [leader] David Miscavige: How they gamble and smoke cigars together and share a special language – but Miscavige secretly recorded the movie star”.

The article claimed to report details of the two men's relationship, and was said to feature 'exclusive interviews' with former members of the church.

Mr Miscavige complained to the Independent Press Standards Office (IPSO) that a number of the claims made in the article about Scientology had "already been disproved or denied".

The website had approached a representative of the Scientology head before publication, and been told the claims were "completely untrue and should not be published".

Mail Online had argued that the complaint fell outside IPSO's remit as "the individuals mentioned in the article were American; the events had taken place in the United States; and the piece was commissioned, written and edited by journalists working for its US division".

Upholding the complaint, IPSO said: "It had not demonstrated the process by which it had regard for the complainant’s previous denials of the allegations, nor had it explained why it had failed to include his representative’s position, explained prior to publication, that the allegations which had been put to him were untrue.

"It had also failed to provide a defence of the accuracy of the article, or its decision not to publish a correction," it added.

Mail Online has published an adjudication following IPSO's decision.