Shortly after Leah Remini was expelled from the Church of Scientology in 2013, she commenced a hate campaign against the religion.
Remini, who had been an actress, sought an opportunity to revive her career and chose to make a “brand” of her anti-Scientology animosity. In a 2015 ABC 20/20 interview with Dan Harris, Remini described herself as “a crappy, has-been actress who is trying to make a dollar off my church.”
In 2017, Leah Remini launched a television show on A&E which attacked the Scientology religion, its members, its ecclesiastical leader and its founder. The show involved interviews with anti-Scientologists who used the platform to legitimize disinformation, hate speech and lies. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter how much vetting Remini had done of these anti-Scientologists before their appearances on her show, she stated: “There is no vetting.” She added that she “take[s] their word for it” because “they are my people.”
The show was cancelled after inciting violent hate crimes.
In an effort to continue advancing her anti-Scientology campaign, Remini today co-hosts a podcast with a small listenership. She states that her intent regarding Scientologists is to “get them out” of their chosen faith.
Though the Scientology religion is recognized by federal governments worldwide, Remini consistently expresses her objection to its members exercising their religious freedom and First Amendment rights. In particular, she is violently opposed to Scientologists speaking out against her hate speech on STAND League, the mission of which is “to end forever the defamation and bigotry toward Scientologists and the Scientology religion, and to protect everyone’s basic inalienable right to practice their chosen faith.”
Within one month of Leah Remini’s expulsion from the Church, she devised a publicity stunt to harass and incite hate against the Church, filing a knowingly false “missing person” report with the Los Angeles Police Department in 2013. Her former acquaintance, Mark Rathbun, whom Remini had told of her stunt at the time, stated she “knew it was a scam from the beginning.” Within hours, the police deemed the fraudulent report unfounded. Her ploy exposed as pure harassment, Leah Remini then maligned the LAPD.
In June of 2018, Leah Remini and her staff orchestrated one of multiple anti-Scientology false reports to police containing outrageous allegations. The purpose was to air those false allegations on her anti-Scientology show with immunity from defamation claims. Accordingly, a young woman was escorted by an individual working for Leah Remini to the Clearwater Police Department, where the officer taking down the information in a report recorded: “She is appearing on the A&E Network with the ‘Aftermath Foundation’ against the Church of Scientology and was required to bring forward the following information before the show is aired.” The police department could not find a single witness or any evidence to support the claims made in her latest report. The case was closed.
That same month, a young man was likewise escorted to the Clearwater Police Department by the same individual working for Leah Remini. The young man filed false claims, with the police once again recording that he “was involved in some sort of TV show and the show required him to make a police report.” The case was later closed, with the police department noting: “There was no evidence to support his allegations.” By then he had already made an appearance on Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology show.
Also that same month, Leah Remini and a producer from her show arrived to a California sheriff’s office demanding a “welfare check” be done to harass an elderly Church staff member, whom she falsely claimed had recently had a stroke. Remini demanded she join law enforcement to film their visit to the Church, which she was informed was against procedure. The sheriff’s office promptly confirmed the staff member was healthy and well cared for. Their time wasted, they instantly closed the case.
Leah Remini’s hate speech has resulted in more than 600 threats and acts of violence against Scientologists and their children and families.
In 2015, 31-year-old Erin McMurtry called Leah Remini “a true inspiration” on social media. Several days later, McMurtry smashed her car through the front doors of the Church of Scientology in Austin, Texas, stopping just short of the nursery. When she was informed no one was hurt, she replied, “that’s too bad.” McMurtry was convicted of felony vandalism.
In 2016, Andre Barkanov called the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles and threatened to assassinate the Church leader, the receptionist, her family, Church staff and Scientology parishioners. Barkanov, who was found to have an arsenal of guns, had no direct knowledge of the Church but, when interviewed by the LAPD, stated he made the threat after watching “the King of Queens lady,” referencing Remini’s character in a cancelled sitcom.
The following are among the hundreds of threats Remini’s hate speech has inspired, with many issued within one hour of the broadcast of an episode of her anti-Scientology show:
On January 3, 2019, a man incited by Leah Remini’s hate speech murdered a 24-year-old Scientologist, Aaron Yeh, outside the Australasian headquarters of the Church.
Newspapers internationally published that Leah Remini had blood on her hands.
Only the most hate-fueled, abusive language would inspire threats and violence such as that described above:
Prior to the airing of her show, the Church provided media with documented evidence of Leah Remini’s hate, harassment and lies. Leah Remini responded by having her lawyer send two letters attempting to extort the Church—the first demanding $500,000, the next $1 million, threatening a lawsuit should her terms not be met. The Church, of course, rejected Remini’s demands. There was no lawsuit.
Leah Remini has profited significantly from her attack on the Scientology religion, her primary occupation over the course of nearly a decade.
Where she has occasionally secured employment not connected to her anti-Scientology campaign, Leah Remini has exploited the platform to use the name of her former religion—seeking to remain “relevant.”
Prior to her quest “to make a dollar off my Church,” Leah Remini had glowing things to say about her religion, including the following: