The Wendy Company

August 15, 2018

Wendy’s, Your Advertising Supports A&E’s Religious Discrimination

Western culture is experiencing a golden age of tolerance, represented by the #MeToo movement, by increased respect for LGBTQs, African Americans, and others. Yet, in the face of this rising tide of pluralism, you are propping up Leah Remini and providing her with her bullhorn.

August 15, 2018

Todd Penegor, CEO
The Wendy Company

Dear Mr. Penegor,

Somewhere in the bowels of your accounting department no doubt, someone decided that a profit could be made by advertising on “Aftermath.”

“Let’s see. Hate speech. Minority religion. Should be good for a small but steady audience.”

Would you have made the same decision had the show targeted Muslims? Jews? African Americans? LGBTQs? Does your conscience not peek beyond the boundaries of the socially favored?

I am a Scientologist, a retiree living in rural Oregon, and even I have heard of our parishioners having to deal with distraught children disparaged at school for being Scientologists, of poison pen letters circulating in our neighborhoods, and of our members being harassed on the streets. This is the true “aftermath.”

Consider, for example, Erin McMurtry. Ms. McMurtry had no experience with or knowledge of our Church, but Leah Remini’s message struck a chord in her anyway. She was so “inspired” that she drove her car through the front of the Austin Church of Scientology, stopping just short of the nursery. When informed by the arresting officer that nobody had been hurt, she responded “That’s too bad.” Leah Remini’s silence on her protégé’s atrocity was deafening.

Or consider Andre Barkanov another person reached by her message. He was arrested for making repeated, lengthy telephone calls threatening to kill just about everyone in Scientology. His motive? As he told the LAPD, “That King of Queens lady.” Again, no attempt at moderation from Remini.

Another, Brandon Reisdorf, threw a hammer through the window of our U.S. headquarters building and threatened to assassinate our Church’s leader. After his conviction for felony vandalism, Ms. Remini brought him on her show and showered him with praise.

ANY social scientist, or even casual observer of history, will tell you that vilification is always a herald for atrocity. And the cycle of vilification and atrocity has both its perpetrators and its enablers. “I don’t do anything unless I’m paid. Nothing.” Ms. Remini was discussing her anti-Scientology campaign when she said this. And who is paying her? Her advertisers—the de facto enablers, no less so than those who have been exposed for coddling Harvey Weinstein.

The FBI has reported that, in terms of frequency, religious hate crimes rank second only to hate crimes committed because of race. This is combustible stuff you’re dealing with here. Is a Scientologist going to have to die to get your attention?

Our ministers and parishioners have provided relief to disaster victims around the world, helping victims of floods, riots, bombings, tornadoes, tsunamis, brush fires, and countless other natural and man-made disasters. The simplest of our technologies have rehabilitated criminals and saved lives. There are thousands of such people, such stories, and this is what “Aftermath” is really attacking. We are not “cultists.” We are human beings.

Western culture is experiencing a golden age of tolerance, represented by the #MeToo movement, by increased respect for LGBTQs, African Americans, and others. Yet, in the face of this rising tide of pluralism, you are propping up Leah Remini and providing her with her bullhorn.

There are millions of us. We are growing despite Leah Remini. And we do remember.

Sincerely,

Leland Thoburn
McMinnville, Ore

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