Last night, on Dancing With The Stars, Leah Remini was heard telling her dance partner, Tony Dovolani, that Scientology, which she left this summer, wants her to fail on the program so its members would think that’s what happens to anyone who leaves. “You’re used to taking a lot of negativity on yourself,” she said about being a part of Scientology.
We wanted to ask another actor who left the church recently what he thought about her words. We spoke to Jason Beghe last night and asked him, was Leah Remini correct to say that Scientology wants her to fail?
Beghe left Scientology in 2008 in a very public way, recording a YouTube video denouncing the church. Since then, the veteran film and television actor’s career has taken off with recurring roles in Californication and Chicago Fire, and now he’s filming episodes for his own spinoff series, Chicago PD. But in spite of that success, he’s dealt with severe harassment from Scientology since he left, and he told us there was no question that Remini was right about what she said on television last night.
“It’s not just that they want you to fail. It’s kind of like they want you to die.”
After he had left, Beghe became the subject of litigation and surveillance, and he said it was some time before he really appreciated what was happening.
“You realize, they’re trying to destroy me, they’re trying to destroy my family, and they’re very dirty and underhanded. Scientology is psychotic as an organization,” Beghe says. “Would you have a friend who acts like the Church of Scientology does? They think their acts of vengeance are justified and correct. I would never have a friend like that. It’s not safe.”
For Beghe, encountering Scientology’s program of “Fair Game” only made him more determined.
“You’ve been to my house. You’ve seen my family. What else would anyone ever want? But then they tried to destroy that, that’s when they fucked up,” he says.
We interviewed Beghe when he first left Scientology, and at that point his career was at a bit of a low ebb. We wondered if leaving the church, he worried if it might hurt his fortunes. But since then, he’s had more success than ever before.
“When I became aware that my life and my family’s lives were being threatened, it focused me, you know? I’m not going to sit down and die,” he says. “So I had to do well. I had these lawsuits. I had to make money. And the only way I know to make money is acting.”
But he said that he and Leah weren’t really the story of Scientology retaliation. “This isn’t really about celebrities. Celebrities are only a tiny percentage of the people who are suffering. I get messages from people all the time. What can I do for them? They’re living in fear,” he says. “People who say they can’t see their mother anymore, or their children. My God, someone like Cindy Plahuta who can’t see her daughter anymore.”
Disconnection. Surveillance. Harassment. He hears from people all the time who continue to experience Scientology’s legendary retaliation program.
“These guys are crazy. And all of this shit is straight out of the L. Ron Hubbard playbook. That’s their scriptures. They say they’re not a turn-the-other-cheek religion. No. they’re a knock-you-down-and-kick-you-in-the-balls religion.”
But he says it puzzles him how the church’s private eyes and attorneys and Office of Special Affairs operatives can continue to do what they do.
“To be working in OSA and doing that shit, and think you’re saving mankind? You have to be out of your mind. [Scientology leader] David Miscavige is obviously insane,” he says.
Beghe is currently in Chicago, where he’s working on Chicago PD, which will be a replacement series when a slot comes open in NBC’s schedule.
“We’re in the middle of the second episode and I just read the third. It’s going really well. I hope people like it,” he says.
UPDATE: As our commenters pointed out this morning, the Church of Scientology gave Good Morning America a response to Leah Remini’s assertion that it wants her to fail. Here it is…
“We know this may come as a surprise to someone as self-absorbed as Ms. Remini, but we could care less if she wins or loses on Dancing With the Stars.”
Posted by Tony Ortega on September 24, 2013 at 07:00
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