- - Sunday, July 1, 2012

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch weighed in on the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes divorce story Sunday, saying he thinks Scientologists are “creepy” and possibly evil.

The News Corp. chief urged his Twitter followers to watch the story, which broke Friday when Miss Holmes announced she was filing for divorce from Hollywood A-lister Mr. Cruise, a prominent member of the Church of Scientology.

“Watch Katie Holmes and Scientology story develop. Something creepy, maybe even evil, about these people,” Mr. Murdoch said on his Twitter account, “@rupertmurdoch.”

The fairy-tale Hollywood couple’s split was revealed when Miss Holmes‘ publicist announced that the actress had filed for divorce after five years of marriage, ending an unexpected love story dogged by tabloid rumors.

A spokesman for Mr. Cruise said the “Mission Impossible” star was “deeply saddened” by the news, fueling reports that his wife’s announcement had taken him by surprise.

Speculation about why Miss Holmes wanted out has included suggestions that she was concerned that Mr. Cruise was forcing their 6-year-old daughter, Suri, deeper into the Church of Scientology.

The TMZ celebrity news website has reported that Miss Holmes is seeking sole custody of Suri. Citing unnamed sources, it said she feared “that Tom would drag Suri deep into the church.”

“We’re told the couple had been arguing over Suri — that she’s now of the age where Scientology becomes a significant part of her life,” it said.

Mr. Murdoch’s Scientology comment generated a surge of Twitter traffic, prompting another tweet: “Since Scientology tweet hundreds of attacks. Expect they will increase and get worse and maybe threatening.

“Still stick to my story,” he added.

There was no immediate response to an Agence France-Presse request for comment from the Church of Scientology or from publicists for Mr. Cruise or Miss Holmes.

Producer vows to stage Nora Ephron’s final play

A lead producer of Nora Ephron’s new play, “Lucky Guy,” said he is “committed” to getting her biography of a newspaper columnist on a Broadway stage despite the playwright’s death last week.

Colin Callender said Thursday that his team “can think of no more fitting tribute to her extraordinary writing and remarkable body of work” than to proceed with plans to produce Ephron’s play.

“We are honored to be part of her legacy and remain committed to seeing her magnificent work, ‘Lucky Guy,’ shine on Broadway,” Mr. Callender said in a statement.

“Lucky Guy” follows the story of tabloid reporter Mike McAlary, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for his coverage of New York City police officers’ brutalization of Abner Louima. McAlary died that same year of colon cancer at age 41.

When word of the potential production first surfaced this spring, Tom Hanks was reported to be in negotiations to play McAlary. No new timetable has been revealed or whether Mr. Hanks or potential director George C. Wolfe were still attached to the project.

Aide to U2’s Adam Clayton guilty of embezzling $3.6M

An Irish jury unanimously found a former aide to U2 bassist Adam Clayton guilty of embezzlement Friday after she spent more than $3.6 million of the musician’s savings on 22 thoroughbred horses, pricey plane tickets and other indulgences for herself and her family.

Carol Hawkins, 48, sat impassively as each of the 181 guilty verdicts was read out in Dublin Criminal Court. She made no comment. Her lawyers, who called no witnesses during the three-week trial, said she was still protesting her innocence.

Judge Patrick McCartan granted Ms. Hawkins bail pending her sentencing Friday. Addressing the jurors, he said: “The evidence in this case was overwhelming. Nobody could seriously disagree with the verdict you have given.”

Ms. Hawkins had claimed that Mr. Clayton either authorized her expenditures — including several foreign trips, the horses, a new car and university courses for her two children — or that she had paid him back by using her own money to pay his bills.

But Mr. Clayton testified he’d known nothing about Ms. Hawkins’ four-year spending spree and had given her access to his bank accounts purely so she could pay bills related to his Georgian mansion, Danesmoate, in south Dublin.

“The fact is she wrote checks from my accounts and put them in her accounts. She was using my accounts to pay her bills,” Mr. Clayton testified.

Ms. Hawkins worked for him for nearly 17 years, initially as a maid and cook, until he discovered her spending spree in 2008.

Blige: Burger King ad ‘made me look ridiculous’

Singer Mary J. Blige said the Burger King commercial that caused major backlash for her was a “mistake.”

The clip was released in April and featured Ms. Blige singing about the fast-food chain’s new chicken snack wraps. It immediately went viral, and some in the black community said it was stereotypical. Burger King pulled it after one day and said it was unfinished.

In an interview with radio station Hot 97 this week, Ms. Blige said Burger King “made me look ridiculous.” She said she thought she “would be shot in an iconic way.”

Said Ms. Blige: “I wanted to crawl under the bed.”

She said she initially did the commercial because she thought it would be a “great branding opportunity.”

• Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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