June 10, 2017

Disney: if you are dedicated to human rights, as you say, rethink promoting Leah Remini

I am a true believer in human rights. I believe that everyone has these rights, including LeahRemini. She has the right to practice whatever religion she chooses and has freedom of speech. However, when she is using this right to spread hate and discrimination to the point of infringing on other people’s rights, I believe it crosses the line.

June 10, 2017

Disney-ABC TV Group
Burbank, CA 91505

Dear Mr. Sherwood,

I decided to write you as I recently found out that A&E has just green lit another season of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.” I’m not sure if you are aware of this or what this show is about, but I wanted to share with you how it has affected my family.

A couple weeks ago, my mother received a call from our neighbor about a letter she had received anonymously in the mail. The letter was about my mom and my family being active Scientologists, and was meant to defame our religion and us as human beings. At the end of the letter it said “if you get a chance, watch Leah Remini's show on A&E.” It was signed “Concerned American Against Cults and Destroying Families.” We checked with our neighbors around the block and sure enough the same letter had been sent to them anonymously several times.

The neighbors that know us well just threw the letter out because they knew that the data contained in it was false. However, I couldn't stop asking myself: what about the people that have never met us? Would they believe what was written about us and would they think we were part of a “cult?” What would they do with this information other than have hate and distrust for us neighbors and for other Scientologists?

I am a true believer in human rights. I believe that everyone has these rights, including Leah Remini. She has the right to practice whatever religion she chooses and has freedom of speech. However, when she is using this right to spread hate and discrimination to the point of infringing on other people’s rights, I believe it crosses the line.

Since A&E is co-owned by Disney, I was happy to discover Disney’s policies on human rights. On your website your Human Rights Policy Statement reads:

“The Walt Disney Company is committed to conducting business in an ethical and responsible manner. We respect and support international principles aimed at protecting and promoting human rights, as described in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. In our own operations, Disney seeks to operate in compliance with all applicable laws wherever we do business.”

“Our commitment to respect human rights is a core value of all businesses within The Walt Disney Company, and we take active steps to reflect that commitment in our everyday activities.”

Upon discovering Disney’s policies, I decided to review the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in a new light. Below are two articles that apply to the freedom of religion:

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” (Article 2)

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” (Article 18)

Personally this kind of religious discrimination and bigotry has now encroached into my own life. I feel like I am now seeing first-hand what religious discrimination is all about. This is terribly wrong.

I am asking as a human being to another human being to please review this show and to decide if it is actually something that is helping to uplift humanity or if it is designed to spread hate, discrimination and bigotry.

Sincerely,
Tara Voight
New York, N.Y.

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