Tom Cruise and John Travolta's wife Kelly Preston have denied allegations they pressured media network Fox News into firing columnist Roger Friedman earlier this year (09).
Friedman lost his high profile job with the network in April (09), with his bosses claiming he had been dismissed for posting an online movie review of a leaked copy of X-men Origins: Wolverine.
But Friedman has since announced plans to sue Fox bosses over the incident, alleging several Hollywood stars used their influence over network chiefs to get him fired because he disagrees with their religious beliefs.
The reporter - who plans to file legal papers against Fox in New York later this week (beg15Jun09) - claims his columns angered high profile Scientologists including Cruise, who he alleges was in talks to star in a Fox-backed film at the time of his sacking.
He goes on to levy allegations at Preston - accusing her of calling him a "religious bigot" at the funeral of singer Issac Hayes last August (08) and claiming she subsequently orchestrated a meeting between Fox bosses and Scientology leaders to discuss his removal.
Friedman's attorney, Martin Garbus, says, "In falsely claiming Roger engaged in piracy, they attempted to destroy the reputation of a fine journalist. I've seen how Scientology intimidates even the most powerful media. That seems to be what happened here."
But Cruise's legal team have fired back at the allegations - calling claims the star was involved with Friedman's dismissal "utterly false".
Preston's lawyer, Martin Singer, slammed the accusations as "absurd and ridiculous".
He adds, "(Friedman) was terminated just days after (his X-Men Origins column was published). It is outrageous to try to blame my client on the basis of something that supposedly took place eight months earlier."
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