Feb 17, 2017

'If I'm such a liar, why haven't they sued my ass?'

Leah Remini
Debbie Schipp
FEBRUARY 17, 2017

SCIENTOLOGY says she’s a bitter ex-member, lying about a religion that no longer wanted her; who hangs with “deadbeats, admitted liars, self-admitted perjurers, wife beaters and worse”.

A “washed-up” actor trying desperately to be “relevant”.

Leah Remini is used to the attacks. She was done listening to the church long ago.

“If I’m such a liar, why haven’t they sued my ass?” Ms Remini, who left the church in 2013 after three decades of “indoctrination” says of the attempts to discredit her

Ms Remini, best known for her role in hit comedy King of Queens, has been lifting the lid on the controversial religion since she left: first with a tell-all book, and now with TV docu-series: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

It features claims of physical, sexual and mental abuse, heartbreak and harassment from former Scientologists whose lives have been affected by the church’s practices, even after they left.

The show, currently airing in Australia, ignited fierce debate in the US. Scientology fought back with legal threats and a statement about Ms Remini.

The A&E Network, which first aired the show, devoted a section on its website to Scientology’s lengthy responses to each episode.

In a video message ahead of the show’s premiere she told the church “when you stop f**king with people’s lives and families, I’ll stop too”.

“They know it’s true or they would have sued the s**t out of me,” says Ms Remini.

The show was prompted by responses to Ms Remini’s book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. Among the flood of messages from other former Scientologists sharing horror stories was that of Amy Scobee, who used to be in charge of Scientology’s Celebrity Centres.

Hearing Ms Scobee’s claims of sexual abuse by her superiors and their families, Ms Remini knew she couldn’t stop.

Scientology will often take steps to silence those who criticise and leave it.

But Ms Remini will not be quiet any time soon. It took her 30 years to find her voice.


“Am I obsessed? Yes,” says Ms Remini. “I’m obsessed with the truth. I am obsessed with people not being victimised.”

Those who leave are subjected to Scientology’s “fair game” policy of harassment, she says.

Established by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard in response to criticism from within and outside his organisation, individuals or groups who are “fair game” are judged to be a threat to the church and can be “punished and harassed using any and all means possible”.

The idea, Ms Remini says is “to utterly destroy, at any cost, anyone who publicly criticises Scientology”.

Hubbard cancelled the use of the term in 1968. But some say it still operates.

Outspoken ex-Scientologist Mike Rinder practised it as a high-ranking member of the elite Sea Organisation; then suffered at the hands of it when he left after 46 years, she says.


Ms Remini joined at the age of nine, but departures like Mr Rinder’s made her question the “brainwashed” life she was leading.

While Scientology courted her to bring her high profile friends into their ranks, senior members were getting out.

After they left, she said, they’d say the same thing: the church was a cult. The church would brand them liars and criminals.

Alarm bells first rang at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Scientology’s most powerful figures were at the nuptials of their poster boy, but Shelly Miscavige, the wife of church leader David Miscavige, was not.

Ms Remini’s questions about Shelly went unanswered. She was told she shouldn’t be asking about the leader’s wife.

As her unease grew, so did the repercussions.

Ms Remini underwent ‘auditing’, hours of interrogations, and fines tens of thousands of dollars in an effort to make her admit her ‘crimes’.

Leaving took six years.

“They got me for a couple of years. I thought it was me with the problem. They said I had evil intentions towards Tom Cruise who single-handedly is saving the planet, and David Miscavige,” Ms Remini says.

Leaving almost cost her the relationship with her mother, Bonny.

But they escaped together when Bonny refused the religion’s demands to denounce her daughter.

Fear of losing everything paralyses many. “People are afraid for their lives, afraid for their families,” says Ms Remini.

“We were indoctrinated into a cult from a very early age. If you leave you believe not only are you putting yourself at risk for having your soul eternally in hell, you are also disconnecting from the only technology of saving mankind.

“You believe what your captors have told you and taught you.”


Scientology’s has long kept the outside world out, says Ms Remini.

High profile departures include David Miscavige’s father, Ron, but “a lot of Scientologists don’t even know a lot of us left,” she says.

“They don’t watch the news or seek out this information. If they see a link they’re told not to click on it . that it’s taken out of context, fabricated.”

“I do know that the people who were originally in the religion got into it in the 50s, 60s and 70s and had spent their whole lives in it, all of their money, had lost their children to Scientology, finally said ‘this is bulls**t and I’m walking away.”

“What I am really waiting for is for people to step in ... congressman, judges, people who matter ... to stop allowing others to hide behind this being a religion.

“Where that religion is abusive or harmful they should literally get their heads out of their asses ... and look at what’s really going on.

“The government did step in at one point. I’m sure they were trying to find a way, but these people were brainwashed. I’m sure they (authorities) fear if they did break down those walls or gates those people would say ‘we don’t want to go, we’re good’.”


Ms Remini never feared for her life: “I don’t want to give them that much power, ever,” she says.

“My mother taught me to fight for myself. She left the church with me and I’m very lucky. Not a lot of people have that.”

“People choose the church over their own family, over their own sons and daughters.

“That has to stop.”

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath airs on Foxtel’s CI Network channel on Wednesdays at 9.30pm


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