Tom Cruise got slammed last week in Australia, where he was named winner of the “Celebrity Ernie Award” for a so-called sexist comment that award organizers claim he made. Only, he didn’t make it.
The comment in question – allegedly made when fiancée Katie Holmes was pregnant with their daughter Suri, now three months old – was, “I’ve got Katie tucked away so no one will get to us until my child is born.”
The apocryphal quote was named “worst derogatory public statement” by nearly 400 of Australia’s most powerful women who gathered in the New South Wales state parliament last week.
But according to Cruise’s rep, the actor – who was in the news last week after parting ways with Paramount Pictures – never uttered those words or made any such remarks to that effect.
“Tom’s comments that they have attributed to him are completely fabricated,” his rep, Arnold Robinson, tells PEOPLE. “Anyone who knows him knows that he is a complete gentleman and would never ever say such a thing. … He has the utmost respect for women.”
Research shows that, indeed, Cruise never made such a statement.
Robinson went on to say, “His mother, his sisters, Kate and his children are the most important things in the world to him. Women have always played a positive and important role in who he is as a man.”
The Ernie Awards, now in their 14th year, were named after a trade union leader called Ernie whose union members included sheep shearers. He once famously said: “Women aren’t welcome in the shearing sheds. They’re only after the sex.”