Leah Remini sues Church of Scientology alleging defamation and 'psychological torture'

ByJovana Lara KABC logo
Friday, August 4, 2023
Leah Remini sues Church of Scientology alleging harassment, stalking
Leah Remini is suing the Church of Scientology, accusing it of harassment, stalking and months of "psychological torture."

LOS ANGELES -- Actress and activist Leah Remini filed a bombshell lawsuit Wednesday accusing the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige of years of harassment, stalking, defamation and what she describes as months of "psychological torture" at Scientology's spiritual headquarters in Florida.

Remini broke the news on her Substack, writing that while her work "advocating for victims of Scientology has significantly impacted my life and career, Scientology's final objective of silencing me has not been achieved."

Remini went on to write that she is one of thousands of targets of Scientology over the past seven decades and that people should be free to share their stories "without fearing retaliation from a cult with tax exemption and billions in assets."

The Church of Scientology did not directly address a list of questions posed by Eyewitness News, but on Thursday issued a statement that says in part: "This lawsuit is ludicrous and the allegations pure lunacy. Remini spreads hate and falsehoods for a decade and is now offended when people exercise their right to free speech, exposing her for what she is - an anti-free speech bigot."

A day after Leah Remini filed an explosive lawsuit, the Church of Scientology has responded with a statement attacking her.

In her wide-ranging lawsuit, Remini alleges that the actions against her and others who criticize Scientology are carried out in part by Scientology's "Office of Special Affairs" and that policies initially created by the late founder L. Ron Hubbard call for "Suppressive Persons" to be "tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed."

"Scientology's policies regarding Suppressive Persons and Fair Game are not religious doctrine; they are old-school, mob-style tactics, modernized, amplified, and weaponized by Scientology's far-reaching network, which goes beyond just social media," Remini further alleges in the lawsuit.

According to her lawsuit, Scientology has undertaken an extensive "campaign to ruin and destroy" Remini's life and livelihood. The complaint states that a "coordinated campaign" to destroy her includes hundreds of Scientology-controlled and coordinated social media accounts.

Remini lawsuit

Remini's lawsuit states that Scientology elevates these posts by using tax-exempt money to amplify their reach on social media platforms like Twitter. Some of the posts referred to in her lawsuit accuse her of "loving rapists" and inciting hate crimes, and falsely claim that she had her teenage daughter involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility.

Remini's lawsuit also alleges that Scientology has interfered with her ability to make a living by harassing or defaming her to current or potential business partners, including A&E, Disney, iHeart Media, AudioBoom and the Game Show Network. Remini is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Scientology and Miscavige for the "enormous economic and psychological harm" that she says the church has inflicted upon her.

"More importantly, she seeks injunctive relief to end Scientology's policies against Suppressive Persons so that current and former Scientologists, and others who wish to expose Scientology's abuses, including journalists and advocates, may feel free to hold Scientology accountable without the fear that they will be threatened into silence," Remini additionally states in the complaint.

Remini publicly left the Church of Scientology in 2013 but says the campaign of harassment began seven years earlier in 2006 at Scientology's "Wedding of the Century," the nuptials of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at a medieval castle in Italy.

Remini says it was at that wedding that David Miscavige's wife Shelly was conspicuously absent. She says she asked various Scientology executives - "Where is Shelly?" Remini's lawsuit states that she then submitted "Knowledge Reports" to the Church expressing concerns about Shelly because she had "been brainwashed into believing that by filing reports like this, she was helping Scientology and saving her religion."

Once she'd returned from Italy, Remini says she was ordered to Scientology's FLAG Land Base in Clearwater, Fla. to undergo an "ethics cycle" that she says turned into four months of "psychological torture" in a process known as the "Truth Rundown" that nearly led her to have a psychological breakdown.

Remini says she paid Scientology hundreds of thousands of dollars for this auditing. She eventually rescinded her reports and agreed to make "amends" to David Miscavige and Tom Cruise.

Remini became an outspoken critic of Scientology after her departure from the church and helped to create The Aftermath Foundation to assist those who want to leave the Sea Org or Scientology but need help to get back on their feet.