The Church of Scientology has accused a journalist of “outright bigotry“ over claims about Cathriona White’s involvement in it in the weeks leading up to her death.
Ms White, an Irish make-up artist and the former partner of Jim Carrey, was found dead in her Los Angeles home in an apparent suicide.
The pair reportedly had an on-again, off-again relationship and had split-up the week before. Ed Winter, the assistant-chief of the LA county coroner's office, said pills and a note were found close to her body. An autopsy is due to take place, although a toxicology report could take up to ten weeks to establish a cause of death.
Tony Ortega, the editor of TheLipTV and an avid blogger about Scientology, claimed Ms White had recently finished an intense detoxification ritual known as the “Purification Rundown” at Scientology's Hollywood Celebrity Centre and had started the “Survival rundown” course.
Ms White shared an image of herself in a sauna on Instagram last year, using the hashtag ‘Puriftwin’.
Mr Ortega, who has been writing about the secretive religion for over 20 years, says he was approached by a group of Scientologists who were also close friends of Ms White.
According to Mr Ortega, Ms White’s friends claimed she had become involved in Scientology between four and five years ago, before moving from Ireland’s County Tipperary to LA in 2009.
They were also reportedly concerned about her striking up a relationship with Carrey again. The pair are believed to have split shortly after dating in 2012 and then rekindled their relationship in May this year.
'But they were assured by Scientologists they knew that Cat was emotionally prepared for the challenge of dating Carrey because, they said, 'She had just finished the Purif and was doing her objectives,'” he told the Mail Online.
“That basically means they think she can handle anything, that's the way Scientologists think. They think if they take these courses they become super human and are able to do anything.”
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These friends also allegedly claimed Ms White was struggling with the Survival Rundown stage.
“Cathriona's friend told me [...] she had been stalling in the past several months and wasn't sure whether she was making progress or not.”
The Church criticised Mr Ortega for connecting her death to Scientology. Karin Pouw, the Church’s Director of Public Affairs, told The Independent: “Saying that somebody was studying Scientology in the past and connecting that to a suicide is like saying a person who had previously studied the Bible committed suicide.
“It is sad and reprehensible that a paid anti-Scientologist like Tony Ortega is exploiting this terrible tragedy involving a young woman: it's a sign of outright bigotry.”
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