On Friday, Leah Remini will provide a glimpse of her explosive tell-all, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, with an hour-long interview on ABC’s 20/20. The book itself comes out officially four days later, on November 3.
But today, the Underground Bunker has an exclusive that not even Remini’s book reveals: In-depth looks at the “Knowledge Reports” (also known as “KRs”) written by Scientologists who informed on Remini as The King of Queens star began her doubts about Scientology in 2006 and then left it for good in 2013.
In her book, Remini refers to the KRs but doesn’t provide the detailed look at them we’re going to show you today. And what they reveal is that Remini’s trajectory out of Scientology occurred just as we told you back in 2013, when the Underground Bunker first broke the news that Remini had left Scientology behind, and we explained that the beginning of her disaffection came at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in a castle outside of Rome.
Now, we have obtained Scientology’s own spying reports on that incident and others that describe Leah’s later crises with Scientology leader David Miscavige. They largely tell the same story that Leah does in her book, but from the point of view of her former friends in Scientology. And they are not kind.
As we explained in a lengthy story about Leah written with the help of her older sister, Nicole, the Remini girls were brought up in Scientology by their mother, Vicki, who was introduced to the church by a boyfriend. Leah was six years old when she first began learning about Scientology, and by 12, she had signed the Sea Org’s billion-year contract as she and her sister and mother moved to Scientology’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.
Although her stint in the Sea Org was short, Leah remained a loyal Scientologist as the family moved to Los Angeles and she then tried to break into television as an actress. Even as she attained huge success with her 9-year run as Carrie Heffernan on The King of Queens from 1999 to 2007, Remini continued to go to Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre for several hours nearly every day.
Remini knew Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes well, attending numerous dinners at Tom’s Beverly Hills home, and she was the first to report that she’d actually visited their baby, Suri, who had not yet been seen in public since her birth on April 18, 2006. So it wasn’t too big a surprise when, later that year, Leah and her husband Angelo Pagán were invited to Tom and Katie’s wedding in November, and were asked to extend an invitation to Leah’s friends Jennifer Lopez and her then-husband Marc Anthony.
J-Lo’s father is a longtime Scientologist, but Jennifer herself isn’t. Other celebrities invited to the event included Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Brooke Shields and her husband Chris Henchy, and Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, who were dating.
After arriving in Rome they all attended a dinner in town, where Leah first noticed that Tom’s best man, Scientology leader David Miscavige, was there without his wife, Shelly. The wedding itself took place the next day at Castello Orsini-Odescalchi, about an hour outside of town. Leah and Angelo ended up leaving their hotel late — waiting for J-Lo’s security detail to give them the green light — and arrived at the castle about an hour after the other guests.
Again, Leah noticed that Miscavige was there without his wife, and was instead getting friendly with his female assistant. Leah asked about it, and was told by Tommy Davis, the son of actress Anne Archer and a Sea Org lackey to Tom Cruise, that Leah “didn’t have the fucking rank” to ask about Shelly’s whereabouts. (What Leah didn’t know at that time was that more than a year earlier Shelly had been banished to a super-secret Scientology compound in the mountains above Los Angeles, where she remains to this day.)
Leah also caused a stir when she asked to have Jennifer Lopez moved because J-Lo wanted to sit with her. These disturbances were apparently enough to concern both Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who slighted Leah and Angelo and wouldn’t shake their hands after the ceremony.
In fact, Leah’s behavior caused such a stink, after the wedding the Scientologists in attendance did what Scientologists do, and they filed Knowledge Reports with the church in order to snitch on each other. Leah filed one complaining about Miscavige’s behavior with the help of her assistant in Los Angeles, Melinda Brownstone. Katie Holmes (who had become a Scientologist for Tom, at least at that time) filed one on Leah, blaming her for ruining the wedding. And Jessica Feshbach, Katie’s Sea Org “handler,” also filed one. In her book, Leah briefly quotes from Jessica’s KR, but we’ve obtained the entire thing. Here’s what the top of it looks like…
In the KR, Jessica reports that Leah and Angelo caused problems multiple times, from the welcome dinner to the rehearsal to the wedding itself…
A[ngelo] P[agan] and L[eah] R[emini] were almost an hour late for the wedding. K[atie] and T[om] had to be told this as they asked if everyone was there. They both were upset that they would be so rude.
J[ada] P[inkett] S[mith] was talking to Julie at the rehearsal and they were sitting next to each other. Per Julie, L[eah] R[emini] tried to take her seat and tell her to move and J[ada] P[inkett] S[mith] had to say no way and tell L[eah] R[emini] to get another chair.
Jessica then explains that one person who was livid at Leah’s behavior was Creative Artists Agency honcho Kevin Huvane (something Leah confirms in her book). Jessica reports…
Kevin Huvane (Head of CAA) said that the night of the seating at the wedding and how L[eah] R[emini] handled it was the most horrible and rude he had ever seen at a wedding. He said that if she is ever invited anywhere he is invited he would refuse to go. He also said that the fact that she and Ang[e]lo, as Scientologists, would be late to the wedding of the century was beyond rude. He was not happy, requiring me to talk to him for almost 2 hours to chill him out and explain possibly what was happening so he did not walk away with a bad impression of her due to the above.
You begin to see why the title of Leah’s book, ‘Troublemaker,’ is so appropriate. And we can’t help enjoying the thought of a big-time Hollywood super-agent so hopping mad while a Scientology handler tries to calm him down for two hours. Leah later tried to defuse the situation with humor, but with only mixed results.
Jessica also reports that producer Kathleen Kennedy, who had worked with Cruise on 2005’s War of the Worlds, wasn’t happy after the event…
Kathleen Kennedy said that L[eah] R[emini] and J[ennifer] L[opez] were very loud and rude and she didn’t want to be a part of it. She was very quiet about it and only told me. Again, I defended L[eah] R[emini] and J[ennifer] L[opez] to handle their P[ublic] R[elations] with her.
Julie Polk (publicist at Rodgers and Cowen) was upset with L[eah] R[emini] and Angelo’s lateness to the wedding with how L[eah] R[emini] handled the places that they were seated at the reception dinner. She said that Brooke [Shields], Michelle Kydd-Lee, Tory M, Chris H, Rick Hess and Caroline Hess, had all spoken to her about it and asked what they should do or who they should talk to. Julie said that it was a strange position to be in as she knew the L[eah] R[emini] was good friends with T[om] and she didn’t know what to tell them as she also felt it was inexcusable.
Jessica also relates that the various celebrities she was trying to placate were unhappy when they realized they would have to fly back with Remini on their chartered plane.
As we were getting on the plane there were 2 seats in front of L[eah] R[emini] empty and the CAA execs didn’t want to sit with her and said they preferred to sit at the back of the plane.
Interestingly, Jessica tried to give Leah the benefit of the doubt at the end of her report…
I am sure that L[eah] R[emini] and Angelo were possibly trying to solve a certain problem or something, but the way in which it was handled was B[ad] P[ublic] R[elations] for T[om] C[ruise] and Sc[ie]n[tology]. I completely handled each person so that there was no bad idea of them what-so-ever in any way and they walked away with a good impression of them. I spent over half the flight on the way back doing this.
I am including Angelo in the report as he was there for all of it and therefore condoned it.
This is okay.
Jessica signs off with “ML,” the standard “much love” of the Sea Org, as well as the typical endorsement of her own account (“This is okay”).
As we reported in 2013, after Leah filed her Knowledge Report snitching on David Miscavige and the other “out-ethics” situations at the wedding (such as the embarrassing behavior of senior executive Norman Starkey, who was getting too friendly with an uninterested Brooke Shields), Leah was then asked to report to the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. (After L. Ron Hubbard ran Scientology by sea from 1967-1975, his “flagship” was replaced with a complex of buildings in Clearwater known affectionately as “Flag.” The Sea Org, which once crewed his ships, continues to wear naval uniforms even as it works today on land.)
At Flag, Leah was subjected to an intense four-month program of interrogations and other behavior modification exercises. At first, she was defiant, blaming what happened in Rome on Tom Cruise, whom she called an “asshole” and an “SP.” But eventually, after weeks and weeks of intense questioning, she broke down and agreed to rescind her report. As part of that program, she was put through an Orwellian exercise known as the Truth Rundown, which is usually reserved only for Sea Org members. As Bruce Hines explained to us two years ago, the Truth Rundown is intended to make the subject doubt his or her own mind — in this case, until Leah agreed that anything bad that happened at the wedding had been her own fault, and that she simply must have been incorrect when she thought she saw the leader of the church engaged in behavior that was “out-ethics.”
At the end of the four-month program in Clearwater, Leah had spent $300,000 for the interrogations.
And yet, despite this series of events, Leah Remini remained a loyal member of Scientology for several more years, and even defended the organization to the press.
But the treatment she received at Flag ate away at her, as well as what she had seen in Italy. And still, no one could tell her, where was Shelly?
Then, in 2012 another big change plunged Leah into a new crisis, and once again, it involved Tom Cruise.
That June, Katie Holmes split from her husband in a rather spectacular getaway scheme while Tom was in Iceland shooting a movie.
To Leah, it was a vindication. By Scientology’s way of thinking, Katie had been revealed to have been a bad person all along, and one who might likely be declared a “suppressive person” by the church. Leah now expected that Scientology would want to make good with her, expunge the Knowledge Reports about her behavior at the wedding, and even return to her the $300,000 she had been forced to pay during her Truth Rundown at Flag.
Through the second half of 2012, she pushed various officials — her “handler” Shane Woodruff, the ethics Master-at-Arms Julian Swartz, and even David Miscavige himself — and told anyone who would listen that she expected to be made whole on the $300,000.
This was very tricky, because nothing gets you more permanently branded as an evil SP than asking Scientology for a refund. Leah made it clear she wasn’t asking for a refund, she just expected Scientology to realize its mistake and credit her for what she’d paid.
Miscavige called her down for a meeting on Sunset Boulevard at Author Services Inc., the L. Ron Hubbard literary agency where Miscavige has an office. He told Leah he would get her the money back. When she asked about Shelly, he said she was being kept out of sight to avoid subpoenas, which didn’t make sense to Leah. Further meetings with her handlers got progressively more combative until her husband nearly came to blows with Shane Woodruff, who had showed up at their house and called Leah a “fucking bitch.” After another meeting with Miscavige, Leah finally got her check for $300,000, but she continued to battle her handlers.
By early 2013, Scientology’s ethics officers were sufficiently concerned about Leah’s status as a Scientologist that her friends in the organization were asked to file Knowledge Reports about what she had been saying to them.
We have three Knowledge Reports that were filed by Leah’s friends in late March and early April, 2013. One of them was submitted by John Futris, one of the first Scientologists to give Leah a job when she moved to Los Angeles as a teenager in the 1980s. In her book, Leah only briefly mentions the three KRs, filed by Futris and his wife Valerie, and by Michelle Workman, a Scientogist friend Leah had known for 20 years.
Futris begins his report with a little background…
This will cover and summarize the things Leah said to me over the last several months, going back to June 2012. Valerie and I would go visit Leah at her home like we have done for many years. Leah began to tell me of her “concern” and “disagreement” with how she was treated at Flag and some of the things she observed. I had a total of 6 visits since June 2012 — of which 3 she talked entheta — specifically June, November and December 2012.
Futris reports that Leah had been “unjustly sec-checked” (interrogated) following the Tom Cruise wedding, where “she saw COB’s Communicator” (David Miscavige’s assistant) “grab his ‘ass’ and that she reported it.”
Leah’s friends found that she had been reading websites that were “entheta” (anti-theta, or counter to Scientology’s interests), which she also called her “SP websites,” for the “Suppressive Persons” who spoke out there, criticizing the church. Reading such sites, Futris reports, Leah had learned that some Sea Org officials were being held in something called “The Hole.”
Leah was also energized by an infamous email that had been sent out on New Year’s Eve 2012 by Debbie Cook, a former Sea Org official who had run the complex at Flag (the Flag Service Organization, or FSO) for 17 years. Cook had later become disillusioned, and sent out her email, which was copied to thousands of her fellow church members. In it, she argued that David Miscavige was taking Scientology in the wrong direction, and she used quotes from the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, to make her case, an enormously effective approach which convinced hundreds, if not thousands, of longtime members to leave the organization in the ensuing years.
When Futris questioned Leah about the wisdom of reading something critical of Miscavige like Debbie Cook’s email, he said she responded “We are not robots, we have self determinism.”
She said something similar to Valerie Futris, as Valerie reported in her own KR…
Leah said that Debbie Cook was in the S[ea] O[rg] for 20 years and that how would I know what she did was bad if I don’t have her side of the story. That I should not be robotic in my assumption, she couldn’t be all bad as she was in the Sea Org for so many years and was a very high exec. I told Leah that I would not read what Debbie had to say.
Leah shared with John Futris the scene that nearly had her husband, Angelo, decking a Sea Org official…
She told me that Shane and the CO CCInt [Celebrity Centre commanding officer Dave Petit] went to her house and that Shane called her a “fucking bitch” and that Angelo was present. She complained about Shane not contacting and apologizing for saying this.
To Workman, Leah talked about her first meeting with Miscavige, and Workman’s description of the conversation is especially fascinating…
She said that she and COB [Chairman of the Board, David Miscavige] chatted and he told her about some of the good things the Church was doing, she was dismissive of this (to me, not to COB). She said that she brought up to him that older people should not be being asked to use their retirement funds to pay for church donos — she said he was nonplussed about this (indicating he didn’t know about it), but that she knew he knew about this. She said that COB told her that “neither he nor Tom (Cruise) knew what had occurred with her Flag cycle.” She said that she thought this was bullshit (to me). She also said that COB told her that Tom (Davis) and Jessica Feshbach were no longer in the S[ea] O[rg] and that Jessica has cancer. She said that the meeting didn’t answer all her questions about what was going on with the church, and that she “still wasn’t sure about him” (COB). She (may have) said that she told COB that she thought Tom Cruise was an SP.
While it did turn out to be true that Tommy Davis and Jessica Feshbach had left their jobs as Sea Org “handlers,” the rumor about Jessica being sick with cancer turned out to be untrue. In a deposition in the lawsuit Monique Rathbun brought against Scientology in 2013 for harassment, Tommy Davis testified that he was “on leave” from the Sea Org but still considered himself a member of the Church of Scientology. He and his wife have not been seen at church events since 2011.
According to the Knowledge Reports, Leah was also raising questions about the high prices that Scientology charged, which tended to put longtime members into serious debt. Why, for example, did members who were on OT 7, one of the highest course levels and one that tended to take years to complete, have to come in every six months for an expensive “sec check” that, with the cost of accommodations, could end up costing thousands of dollars? Where, she asked, was the L. Ron Hubbard policy which called for such expensive mandatory security interrogations?
“What’s the LRH on that?” she asked Futris.
By the beginning of 2013, Leah was admitting to her friends that she simply didn’t believe the stories the church was putting out about its effectiveness. That, for example, simply handing out copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s anodyne 1981 booklet of life advice, The Way to Happiness, would lead to miracles like a reduction in crime. Wrote Valerie…
Leah did not believe it when I told her about the crime rate reducing in Colombia based on the Way to Happiness distribution. She said she did not believe it and how does she know this really occurred.
Leah had also lost faith in the “Ideal Org” program that had become Miscavige’s obsession. He was putting intense pressure on members to donate huge sums so that new “Ideal” churches could replace more standard ones, as if that somehow proved the organization was expanding.
Leah told John and I that she disagrees with all the money COB [David Miscavige] is spending on Ideal Orgs in the decorating of them and that the money should be spent on getting up the Bridge and paying staff. She said that this is not what LRH would want.
She also told her friends that her mother Vicki and Vicki’s husband George were also having troubles and had either stalled in their courses or had given them up. So when Leah finally decided to leave, the family went with her.
We learned through our sources over the July 4th weekend in 2013 that Leah Remini had decided to leave Scientology. On July 8, we broke the news, and cited the 2006 Tom Cruise wedding as the catalyst for Remini beginning her move out of the organization.
Two days later, Kirstie Alley called for a meeting to discuss how to deal with Remini’s news. By then, Leah had had a falling out with Melinda Brownstone, the woman Leah had called from Rome to help her write up her KR about the wedding.
Alley put out a tweet about spending time at Brownstone’s house, a clear message to Leah whose side they were on.
That Thursday, July 11, the New York Post mentioned on its front page that Leah had left Scientology, and the story blew up. But People and other publications gave the Underground Bunker credit for breaking the story days earlier.
A month later, we landed another big exclusive. On a Wednesday night, we had learned that two days before, on Monday, August 5, Leah Remini had followed up her longstanding threat to report the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige to law enforcement. She filed a missing-person report with the Los Angeles Police Department.
By the time we heard about it through our sources on Wednesday night, and then reported it Thursday morning, the LAPD had already visited Shelly and then, that afternoon, began telling reporters that she was fine and that Leah’s report had been “unfounded.”
We followed up later with Lt. Andre Dawson of the LAPD, who told us that he had sent two detectives to visit Shelly. (We are convinced that Shelly has been at a mountain compound above Los Angeles since late summer 2005, and we assume this is where the detectives visited her.)
Dawson told us that when his detectives found that Shelly was safe and that she didn’t want to make a public statement, his men could do no more and the case was closed.
But we asked him, had his detectives questioned Shelly in the presence of other church officials? “That’s classified,” he quickly answered us. Since then, we’ve noticed in official fliers put out by Scientology facilities in the Los Angeles area, Lt. Dawson has several times been listed as a featured speaker.
One thing’s for certain, when Leah Remini filed that police report, she erased any chance that she might reconcile with Scientology. We remember at the time thinking, this is a huge move for someone like her to make, and although some in the press seemed to criticize her because the LAPD had so quickly decided to leave Shelly alone, Leah’s report did have a big effect on Scientology and David Miscavige.
Leah Remini left Scientology for numerous reasons. Yes, she considered Tom Cruise an “asshole” who was a “suppressive person” that David Miscavige had elevated too high and who was hurting her church. But Leah saw many other reasons to question the way Scientology operated once she began to wonder about what had happened to Shelly Miscavige, why she had endured the Truth Rundown, and why David Miscavige and Tom Cruise and others seemed to break L. Ron Hubbard’s rules without consequence.
And now, with a major television appearance and a book that contains many more revelations about her life and about Scientology, Leah Remini will soon become the biggest troublemaker to an organization that is already on the ropes.
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.
Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…
Oct 28: Adelaide, Wheatsheaf Hotel, 7 pm (with Sen. Nick Xenophon and Bryan Seymour)
Oct 30: Perth, Collins Street Centre, Collins St and Shaftesbury St, South Perth, 7 pm (with Bryan Seymour)
Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25)
Posted by Tony Ortega on October 27, 2015 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield