Actress and Activist Leah Remini Files Blistering Lawsuit Charging Church of Scientology and Leader David Miscavige of Harassment, Defamation, Stalking and Psychological Torture

Image Source: Fox News via Yahoo Entertainment Photo Source: Image Source: Fox News via Yahoo Entertainment

Celebrity Leah Remini, who joined the Church of Scientology in 1979 when she was a child due to her mother bringing her in, filed a bombshell lawsuit against the church, its leader David Miscavige, and Religious Technology Center. Ms. Remini is suing for defamation, harassment, stalking, and numerous other unlawful acts against her.

Ms. Remini filed the lawsuit in the California Superior Court on Aug. 2, requesting the court to “require Scientology, and any entity it controls and funds, to cease and desist its alleged practice of harassment, defamation, and other unlawful conduct against anyone who Scientology has labeled as an ‘enemy.'”

In court documents citing many years of attacks, the activist and actress details frightening events that occurred over many years since she left the church in 2013 as an adult. Some of her allegations include “mob-style operations and attacks” against her that have resulted in damage to her personal life, her family, and her career.

In court documents, Ms. Remini alleges that the church had dozens of people film messages where they lied about her saying she was a racist and abused her daughter and mother. In New York City during a 2015 book tour, the suit alleges, Ms. Remini was followed by private investigators hired by Scientology so that she felt unsafe and hired bodyguards.

Ms. Remini put out a strongly-worded press release, saying it was time for her to speak out in court against her alleged 17 years of mistreatment by the secretive church.

“For 17 years, Scientology and David Miscavige have subjected me to what I believe to be psychological torture, defamation, surveillance, harassment, and intimidation, significantly impacting my life and career,” stated Ms. Remini. “I believe I am not the first person targeted by Scientology and its operations, but I intend to be the last,” Remini stated in a press release sent out Wednesday.

In a response to the lawsuit, Miscavige called her claims against the church and him “ludicrous and the allegations pure lunacy.” Also in his response, a personal attack against Ms. Remini was included, saying that as a host of her Emmy-award-winning series Scientology and the Aftermath, she was “a horrible person” and even a “bigot.”

The Church of Scientology is famous for its secretive operations, and many members have reported publicly that they had to escape the organization when they wanted to leave. In the damming release, Ms. Remini says that the rules of the Church are never questioned.

“OSA Network Orders, a series of directives from Scientology’s founder, the late L. Ron Hubbard, institutionalized a series of retaliatory actions to be taken against any individual, organization, business or government entity that Scientology declares as an enemy,” the release states. “Under the organization’s rules, directives originating from Hubbard cannot be changed.”

Hubbard was a science fiction writer who later founded the nonprofit church. As written in the lawsuit, “On December 2, 1966, L. Ron Hubbard issued an Executive Directive stating: “(a) People who attack Scientology are criminals, (b) That if one attacks Scientology he gets investigated for crimes, and (c) If one does not attack Scientology, despite not being with it, one is safe.”

Of the many lawsuits brought by the Church against former members who left the organization, one example stands out. Michael Flynn, who helped numerous Scientology victims from 1979 to 1987, personally experienced fourteen suits, all of them dismissed by the courts, brought against him by the church.

The Church of Scientology's lawsuits include filings against newspapers, magazines, government agencies (including the IRS), and thousands of individuals. Decades ago, in 1991, Time magazine published an article that estimated that the Church spends an average of about $20 million per year on various legal actions.

In The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power by Richard Behar in Time Magazine (June 24, 2001), the author writes that “the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner…In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally or physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."

Ms. Remini is a longtime activist who helps former members of the church, who are often allegedly harassed for years.

“While advocating for victims of Scientology has significantly impacted my life and career, Scientology’s final objective of silencing me has not been achieved,” said Ms. Remini. “While this lawsuit is about what Scientology has done to me, I am one of thousands of targets of Scientology over the past seven decades. People who share what they’ve experienced in Scientology, and those who tell their stories and advocate for them, should be free to do so without fearing retaliation from a cult with tax exemption and billions in assets.”

Citing freedom of speech as a Constitutional right in the U.S., Ms. Remini says, “The press has a right to report about Scientology without facing a sophisticated intelligence operation from Scientology to destroy their personal lives and their careers. Law enforcement authorities have a right to investigate crimes in Scientology without fear that they will lose their jobs. Children, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles have a right to request welfare checks on their family members without fear of an operation activated against them by Scientology for doing so. Those in the entertainment business should have a right to tell jokes and stories without facing an operation from Scientology which uses its resources in Hollywood to destroy their lives and careers.

With this lawsuit, I hope to protect the rights afforded to them and me by the Constitution of the United States to speak the truth and report the facts about Scientology without fear of vicious and vindictive retribution, of which most have no way to fight back.”

The Church of Scientology disagrees with Ms. Remini. In a statement, the church replies, “The Church is not intimidated by Remini’s latest act of blatant harassment and attempt to prevent truthful free speech. If Remini does not believe in free speech, then she should consider emigrating to Russia.”

Ms. Remini is seeking punitive and compensatory damages in her lawsuit for alleged harm done to her by the Church of Scientology in her professional and personal life.

Diane Lilli
Diane Lilli
Diane Lilli is an award-winning Journalist, Editor, and Author with over 18 years of experience contributing to New Jersey news outlets, both in print and online. Notably, she played a pivotal role in launching the first daily digital newspaper, Jersey Tomato Press, in 2005. Her work has been featured in various newspapers, journals, magazines, and literary publications across the nation. Diane is the proud recipient of the Shirley Chisholm Journalism Award.
Legal Blogs (Sponsored)