Heidi Venable is a fan. She describes herself as a hardcore romcom enthusiast prone to quoting from Friends at any opportunity. So it’s not surprising that she approaches Leah Remini, who some two decades ago was featured in a total of six Saved by the Bell episodes, with a groupie’s breathless awe. In an article for the website CinemaBlend, she pairs Remini’s appearance on the show with what can only be described as an incredible spin on her bigoted mayhem against religion.
Seen through a filter of smiling faces and rose-colored glasses, Remini’s unmitigated, unrelenting crusade of lies against a religion whose only crime, apparently, was to try to help her, becomes something approaching beatific. Remini’s TV hate-fest and subsequent podcast, underscored against a background of constant and hysterical ranting against the Church of Scientology and other religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, has resulted in more than 600 individual incidents including assassination threats, criminal assault, vandalism, bomb threats and other violence—contributing to the arson of five Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Halls and the brutal murder of a Scientologist in Australia in January 2019. Perpetrators jailed for their crimes have named Remini as their inspiration.
These, too, were “fans” of Leah Remini.
Perpetrators jailed for their crimes have named Remini as their inspiration.
If a “fan” such as Heidi Venable is one who worships those who lie and cause violence and death; if a “fan” favors those who use any platform available as a megaphone for hate; if a “fan” glorifies those who parlay name recognition into pimping for the harassment of good people, then God save us from such “fans.”
Possibly Heidi Venable is guilty of nothing more than stupidity and unwitting ignorance of the incalculable damage that the object of her exaltation has wrought on the world. That can be cured by education, actual research on her subject and a retraction or rewrite of her article.
What Remini suffers from, however, is grievous and sadly incurable.
In any case, Heidi Venable, as a writer, needs to check her ardor at the door, splash some cold water on herself, remove the rainbow filter and confront the cold, hard truth.
Bigotry is bigotry. Hate is hate. Nothing will ever change that.