It’s Emmys press season, and Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is up for two trophies at this year’s ceremony, so this week has been a particularly active one for Remini’s crusade against her former church. Earlier this week, she argued on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that Scientology isn’t a religion (“You can choose to believe or not believe in angels...also Scientology is a business. You have to pay before you go up the chart of Scientology.”)
Today, The Hollywood Reporter has published an in-depth profile of Remini, in which she, among things, calls for a federal investigation into the Church of Scientology:
Remini intends for [Scientology and the Aftermath’s second season] to move into an “activist” realm — meaning she hopes to present enough evidence of criminal wrongdoing to warrant a federal investigation. “I’m talking about the FBI, the police, the Department of Justice, the IRS,” she says. “If the FBI ever wanted to get anywhere, all they would need to do is do a raid. Everybody who’s ever gone to Scientology has folders, and anything you’ve ever said is contained in those folders.”
Remini also shares her thoughts on fellow Emmy nominee Elisabeth Moss, a high-profile member of the church:
“Elisabeth Moss believes that she can’t talk to me,” says Remini. “There’s a thing in Scientology called ‘acceptable truth.’ It means you only say what’s acceptable to the public. But she believes that I’m an antisocial personality — because I’ve spoken out against Scientology. So she isn’t allowed to talk to me. And me knowing that, I wouldn’t put her in the awkward position.”
But what if, say, the two were to suddenly come face-to-face at the Governors Ball, each carrying a freshly engraved Emmy? Would she congratulate her fellow winner? “I would, of course,” says Remini. “I don’t hold anything against Elisabeth Moss other than she’s continuing to support a group that is abusive and destroying families.”
Well, that’s tart, isn’t it?
Scientology has predictably reiterated that it is decidedly anti Scientology and the Aftermath:
The church has a different take on Remini and her A&E series, citing a spike in anti-Scientology hate crimes, bomb threats and death threats since Aftermath began airing. That escalation has required “drastic increases in security in many of our churches,” says Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, who adds that since the show first aired, “there have been more than 500 incidents of vandalism, harassment and threats of violence against the church, its parishioners, staff and leadership.” Pouw cites several recent incidents, including “a woman who gushed about Leah Remini on social media [then] drove her car through the front doors and lobby of our church in Austin, Texas, coming to rest just short of a nursery where earlier children [had been] playing,” and a man who “served five months in jail and is now on parole for a credible assassination threat against the leader of the church, which he said was inspired by the ‘King of Queens lady.’ “
Adds Pouw: “Leah Remini is just an actress whose current role is starring in a scam of a show whose singular goal is to incite religious hate and violence for ratings, money and Emmy nominations.”
It should be noted that both of the cited crimes occurred before Aftermath began airing—Andre Barkanov started making his threats in July 2015, and Erin McMurtry drove her car into her lobby of the Scientology building in December of 2015. However, Remini announced she left the church in 2013, and her memoir Troublemaker, in which she details her life in and after Scientology, was released November 2015. The only sources I could find positing Remini’s potential influence on Barkanov are on Scientologist-run sites, while McMurtry did indeed write about Remini a few times on her Facebook page. Still, if the church wants to argue that Remini’s show is doing damage to its members, they should probably update their examples. They apparently have 500 to choose from.