Tom Cruise's producer partner Paula Wagner has slammed the Hollywood star's critics, insisting the actor has become a victim of religious prejudice because he is a Scientologist.
The 'Mission: Impossible' star recently came under fire for accusing US government officials of lying to the public in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - comments which were made in newly-surfaced video footage promoting Scientology.
But Wagner, who co-owns the United Artists studio with Cruise, is adamant his controversial views as a Scientologist have had no affect on his professional career.
She says: "I am not a Scientologist, nor are most of the people Tom and I work with, but that doesn't mean I can sit by silently while he is attacked for his religious beliefs.
"As a film-maker and an American, I feel strongly that an individual's religion should have no bearing on their professional life. I have always believed that Americans celebrated these differences."
"It's easy to mock an out-of-context video. But that doesn't change the fact that Tom Cruise is one of the hardest-working and nicest human beings I have ever known."
Wagner also took the opportunity to address the "inaccurate" new book about the star by British author Andrew Morton, called 'Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography'.
She said "(The book is) filled with distortions and outright lies that no sensible person will take seriously."