September 3, 2017

Hyundai’s Sponsorship of Leah Remini Anti-Religious “docuseries” Unacceptable

This young woman was literally incited to this violent act solely by Remini's hate speech and the agreement of fellow haters. She was brought to justice and convicted of a felony.

September 3, 2017

Hyundai Motor America
Valley, CA 92728-0850

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you about your sponsorship, through advertising, of Leah Remini's “docuseries” on Scientology.

I have been a Scientologist for almost 40 years. I have many friends and family who are Scientologists including spouse, children and stepchildren, and of course many who are not. I work at the Church of Scientology in Austin, Texas, where we have an active community of Scientologists.

New and minority religions are no strangers to hate campaigns, and it never ceases to amaze me that some who do not have personal experience with that situation can be so blind to the utter bigotry and lies that people are sometimes willing to spew about others who believe differently than they do, or about some group that they have decided to leave and find fault with. As far as I am concerned, Leah Remini has decided to engage in a course of vengeful deceit, and has scripted a show that tramples on the truth and is deliberately designed to invite violence against people of my religion.

Hyundai

In December of 2015, a troubled young woman deliberately drove her car through the plate glass front of the Church of Scientology in Austin—my church. She had never had any dealings with Scientology or Scientologists, but she had read Leah Remini's book and was following her in the media and on social media. She slammed her car right through the front door. Her car missed the people standing at reception by only a few feet. She drove her car all the way into the elevator lobby and shoved a couch through a glass wall into the childcare room just beyond—and then made an obscene gesture to the few who were standing there, backed up and drove off down the sidewalk and then away.

Although it was in the evening, there were plenty of people in the building working and attending classes. Although there were no children in the childcare room at that moment, there had been earlier. If anyone, adult or child, had been in that childcare room, they would have been injured by flying glass. If anyone had stepped off the elevator they could have been seriously injured.

This young woman was literally incited to this violent act solely by Remini's hate speech and the agreement of fellow haters. She was brought to justice and convicted of a felony.

In the weeks following, other strangers decided to pile on by making threatening calls or posting on social media that they were glad this had happened to us.

Since Remini's show has been running, I have encountered other people with extreme opinions about Scientology—even though they know nothing about it. Their understanding of what Scientology and Scientologists are like is so off base that it is literally jarring, and definitely hurtful. It’s not the kind of thing you want your family, friends, or children exposed to.

Please reconsider your support of this show through your advertising dollars. Hate speech is not just “free speech” and is often a prelude to violence.

Sincerely,
Rev. Cathy Norman
Austin, TX

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