The Fix

Tom Cruise dissed by Paris? Harry Potter dissed by pope? Mariah unwillingly disrobed?

Published July 13, 2005 8:38PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
The anti-Potter pope? Harry Potter has a lot of fans, but if a Web site called is to believed, he also has one seriously powerful non-fan: the pope. The Web site has posted the English translation of two letters sent in March 2003 by then Cardinal Ratzinger to a German critic, Gabriele Kuby, who wrote a book, "Harry Potter -- gut oder böse (Harry Potter -- good or evil?)," contending that J.K. Rowling's hugely successful children's book series is a corrupting influence on children, impeding the development of their relationship with God. Kuby apparently sent a copy of her book to Ratzinger, who responded, "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." The future pope also encouraged Kuby to send her tome to a Vatican prelate who later made a favorable comment about the Potter books, and gave her permission to go public about his (Ratzinger's) support of her thesis. ( via Drudge)

Brad's feeling bad: Brad Pitt is sick, so sick that on Monday night -- a few days after returning from Ethiopia, where he'd traveled with Angelina Jolie to pick up her new adopted daughter -- he checked himself into a Los Angeles hospital. But his publicist, Cindi Guagenti, insists it's nothing serious. "He's fine. We think he has the flu," she told the press on Tuesday. "They are just doing a couple of tests." (E! Online)

City of slight? Will Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who got engaged atop the Eiffel Tower, always have Paris? Not completely. The French capital has voted not to make Cruise an honorary citizen because of his prominent affiliation with Scientology, which is considered a cult by many French authorities. (In 1978, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was tried in absentia, convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years in prison in France.) According to Agence France Press, Paris officials vowed "never to welcome the actor Tom Cruise, spokesman for Scientology and self-declared militant for this organization." One French official dubbed the actor a "sect symbol." (Agence France Presse via The Scoop)

Doubly dissed: In related Cruise news, Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas has hit back at those remarkably widespread rumors that he was caught in bed with Tom Cruise, saying, "If I were gay, Tom wouldn't be on the top of my list ... It would be Brad Pitt. I'm more offended by the rumors saying I'm a Scientologist." (WENN via IMDB)

Mariah, revealed? Did Mariah Carey recently have a wardrobe malfunction during a concert performance in Karlsruhe, Germany? That's the story making its way around. According to a report credited to MTV News, which did not turn up in a cursory search of MTV's site, the top of Carey's costume gave way while she was onstage, revealing significantly more flesh than she might have liked. Someone cut the lights to preserve the singer's dignity as she ran offstage to gather her clothing and her composure. At one point, Carey was said to have quipped to fans, "Someone bring me a jacket or the show's off, we all know how quickly these images can spread around the world." So true. (Softpedia, United Press International)

Also: Troubled actor Tom Sizemore failed to show up to a probation hearing on Tuesday after checking himself into drug rehab. The hearing was rescheduled for July 22, and if he fails to show up again, the judge may issue a bench warrant for his arrest. (Associated Press) ... Random House has agreed to a settlement in the lawsuit it brought against Sean "Puffy/P. Diddy" Combs, who in 1998, the company claims, accepted $300,000 to write his memoirs, then failed to deliver the goods or return the dough. (Associated Press) ... Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were said to be barely speaking to each other at Simpson's 25th birthday party, thrown by her parents at their home. And on top of that, the party itself was said to be "really lame." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... It's hard to believe anyone's really keeping track, but in case someone is, let it be noted that "Apprentice" first-season villainess Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth has split from her husband of five years, entrepreneur Aaron Stallworth. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Both People and Us Weekly are apparently reporting that Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton are in talks to reunite for another season of "The Simple Life," despite their personal dispute. (People and Us via E! and Rush & Molloy) ... Christina Aguilera is said to have "hurt her arm after a scuffle with a drunk fan at a nightclub" in Paris. Her rep said she cut two tendons and is currently wearing a cast. (Page Six)

Money Quote:
Owen Wilson on a blind item that portrayed him -- or someone with his nickname, "Butterscotch Stallion" -- licking the buttocks of a woman in his hotel room for two hours: "It's like, 'Who cares?' I play it as it lays. OK, so I may not be the greatest lover in the world. Well, let's make that angle work. There's lots of different paths to the waterfall. You don't have to be Don Juan. And wasn't it Gloria Steinem who said that women have to be responsible for their own orgasms? Well, I take her at her word. I'll do my best, OK, but at a certain point you've got to, like, you know ..." (Rolling Stone via Page Six)

Turn On:
HBO airs its documentary about Mickey Mantle, "Mantle," which includes an interview with his longtime mistress, on Wedneday night at 9 p.m. EDT. And FX offers the next episode of Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days" (10 p.m. EDT), in which two 30-year-olds leave technology behind to live in a Missouri eco-village.

-- Amy Reiter

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