Just ten days now until Leah Remini’s A&E series about Scientology debuts, and we are getting pretty excited. Last night, Leah made public a short spot of herself reading some of the things Scientology said about her in a letter to A&E’s producers, trying to frighten the network out of airing the show.
We can tell you this is always the way Scientology handles things. They send letters from church officials or high-priced attorneys, trying to derail programs by claiming that it will be unfair to them, or that their side is being ignored. But with Leah, the strategy in part seems to be to smear her by calling her motives into question. And it’s especially nutty when Leah reads from it herself…
What’s the Church of Scientology so afraid of?
These are just some of the things the Church said about me.
“A program about our religion hosted by Ms. Remini is doomed to be a cheap reality TV show by a has-been actress now a decade removed from the peak of her career.”
“Ms. Remini, this bitter ex-Scientologist, she needs to move on with her life instead of pathetically exploiting her former religion, her former friends, and other celebrities for money.”
When you stop fucking with people’s lives and families, I’ll stop too.
How does it feel?
Ka-BOOM. Leah is a troublemaker, all right.
And now, the Underground Bunker has an exclusive — we have obtained the entire letter Leah was reading from. It was sent on September 9 to Alex Weresow, the show’s executive producer, as well as to Nancy Dubuc, A&E’s CEO. We think you’re going to find it fascinating. We’re providing the text of the letter as well as a PDF of the original. We know you’re going to find a lot of things here to talk about.
Church of Scientology International
September 9, 2016
Slauson Productions, LLC
Culver City, CA 90230
Re: Leah Remini
Dear Mr. Weresow:
This letter addresses the anti-Scientologist host of your program. Ms. Remini is not capable of being objective about the Scientology religion as she has previously demonstrated.
A program about our religion hosted by Ms. Remini is doomed to be a cheap reality TV show by a has-been actress now a decade removed from the peak of her career. Unable to move on with her life, Ms. Remini has made a cottage industry out of whining both about her former religion that expelled her as well as her former friends she alienated with her unending bitterness and seething anger. Rather than letting go, Ms. Remini has doubled down on her obsessive hatred, turning into the obnoxious, spiteful ex-Scientologist she once vowed she would never become.
Moreover, Ms. Remini is a hypocrite. She disingenuously preaches “letting go,” “those who are free of resentful thought surely find peace,” “less hate more love” and “If you are depressed, you are living in the past.” Yet it’s Ms. Remini who lives in the past, spreading hate and resentment while refusing to “let go.”
She also has redefined herself by the company she keeps. For someone who claims to be a feminist supporting the rights of women, she inexplicably embraces and features on your show the likes of Ron Miscavige, who admitted beating his late wife once a month for a decade, as well as two other vicious wife beaters in Mike Rinder and Tom DeVocht. She preaches, “less hate, more love,” yet showcases an angry, mean individual in Marc Headley. His own mother will tell you he once tried to drown her. That’s because Ms. Remini tosses out her principles if she smells a buck. Since 2013, she has shamelessly exploited her former affiliation with the Church of Scientology as a primary income source.
AETN viewers should know the duplicity at work when Ms. Remini stage managed her departure from the Church of Scientology. For six months before she was expelled, Ms. Remini voluntarily participated in the Church’s ecclesiastical ethics and justice procedures due to her ethical lapses. She did so because she wanted to stay in the Church. But her transgressions were so egregious she was expelled, which remains the source of her bitterness today. Knowing she was on the verge of being kicked out, Ms. Remini choreographed her departure to get attention and publicity.
Following her initial flurry of press coverage, Ms. Remini desperately sought more fame and attention by filing a fraudulent missing person report with the Los Angeles Police Department about the wife of the leader of the religion. It was part of a harassment campaign cooked up with Mike Rinder in tandem with Marc and Claire Headley and shamelessly promoted by Tony Ortega. Ms. Remini used an acquaintance of hers in the LAPD to personally file the report, which she quickly leaked to the media. But it all blew up in her face when the LAPD took the extraordinary step of thoroughly debunking to the media Ms. Remini’s absurd claim within hours, calling it “unfounded.” Ms. Remini wasted valuable public resources in an attempt to viciously harass the Church leader’s wife, whom Ms. Remini has obsessively stalked.
In her autobiography, Ms. Remini made the mind-boggling admission that she filed her false report so that she would be expelled from the Church “and that would be the end.” The irony is that by the time Ms. Remini filed the report, she was already expelled. Ms. Remini was dishonest in her book, failing to disclose that the friend in the police department she filed it with had moonlighted as her personal security on one of her television shows and was trying to break into the personal security business. That the Los Angeles Police Department was able to dispose of Ms. Remini’s publicity stunt so quickly is not surprising.’
Ms. Remini’s anti-Scientology antics also have inflamed acts of religious hate.
Take Erin McMurtry, who on December 14, 2015, drove her car through the front of the Church of Scientology of Austin, Texas. McMurtry plowed across the lobby before coming to a stop in front of the nursery, which only hours before had been filled with children. Before McMurtry committed her crime, she had posted on her Facebook page praises for Ms. Remini and Ms. Remini’s anti-Scientology rhetoric, with such statements as:
“EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!!!!! This is the most crucial thing I have ever posted!!!…. It is called Scientology!! … ‘Thank you many times over to Leah Remini.”
“I’m pissed that Scientology…even exists”
“Shut them down… (NON-negotiable)”
McMurtry had no prior experience with the Church. She had never been a member. Thus, it is hard to miss the connection as the lies being fed to the press by Ms. Remini pushed McMurtry further and further over the edge, to the point where she smashed her car through the front doors in Austin. It was a miracle that no one was injured and only a stroke of luck the nursery, where McMurtry stopped before backing out again, was empty. McMurtry was arrested and has since been charged by the authorities.
In another incident, Ms. Remini’s support of wife beater Ron Miscavige and another apostate Lois Reisdorf, an expelled Scientologist who had been spouting hate speech on various anti-Scientology websites, coincided with a hate crime and death threat by Reisdorf’s son.
Brandon Reisdorf drove to the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles, got out of his car and threw a hammer through the window. He then retrieved the hammer, threw it again a second time even more forcefully and drove off. The car he escaped in was registered to his mother, Lois. Brandon also sent threatening emails to Scientologists. And according to a Tarasoff Reporting Form, issued by Brandon’s psychiatric care providers, “Brandon Reisdorf has been threatening to harm Mr. [David] Miscavige.” Reisdorf was subsequently arrested by the Los Angeles police and is awaiting trial.
Then there was Andre Barkanov, a 48-year-old Chicago resident with a long criminal history. On July 21 and July 23 in 2015, Barkanov made nine telephone calls in which he made death threats naming individual Scientologists and the leader of the religion as his targets. The LAPD tracked him down and extradited him to Los Angeles, where he pleaded guilty to hate crimes. He served jail time and is now on probation with a 10-year court order to stay away from the Church. When asked what direct knowledge he had of his “targets,” Barkanov admitted he had no personal knowledge of the Church. When asked what incited him to threaten these people he cited recent media reports, including those about “the King and Queens lady: she just left the Church” (i.e., Ms. Remini).
The entire premise of Ms. Remini’s project with Slauson is inherently dishonest. Slauson describes this project as being substantially about “the issue of the disconnection policy of the Church.” The practice of Scientologists voluntarily severing communication from people who are inimical to their wellbeing is fundamentally no different than the practices of virtually all major faith traditions, as well as common sense. Consider the sentiments expressed by Danielle Koepke, author and founder of the Internal Acceptance Movement, who wrote:
You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance — you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries and “continues” to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go. — Danielle Koepke
Ms. Remini quotes these same sentiments on her Twitter account: “Love this. Wishing you a toxic free weekend #letitgo.” So while supposedly denouncing the practice out of one side of her mouth, she openly advocates it out of the other. All the family members and associates we have spoken to of each one of Ms. Remini’s co-apostates partaking in her show, including those who are associated with Ms. Remini herself, describes these people to a one as a toxic personality.
In short, Ms. Remini has become what she once declared she never wanted to be known as: “this bitter Ex-Scientologist.” As USA Today wrote, Ms. Remini is “as famous for being an ex-Scientologist as she is an actress.” She needs to move on with her life instead of pathetically exploiting her former religion, her former friends and other celebrities for money and attention to appear relevant again.
Sadly, bitterness and anger are common threads through Ms. Remini’s life. Ms. Remini is showing herself to be a spoiled entitled diva who still obsessively complains about such petty matters as her seating placement, limo rides, five-star hotel accommodations and the paparazzi’s failure to recognize her nearly a decade ago. She also inserts herself uninvited into the family matters of others. Rather than take responsibility for self-inflicted problems, she is quick to blame others. When her firing from The Talk erupted into a public embarrassment in 2012, we tried to help pick her up off the floor. But she treated everyone around her in a degrading, bullying manner. Her behavior was intolerable.
Ms. Remini knows the truth she conveniently rewrites in her revisionist history. The real story again is that she desperately tried to remain a Scientologist in 2013, knowing full well she was on the verge of being expelled for refusing to abide by the high level of ethics and decency Scientologists are expected to maintain. Her repeated ethical lapses and callous treatment of others led to an ecclesiastical review which resulted in her being expelled.
Prior to that, the Church worked hard to help Ms. Remini try to be a good person. In 1998, Ms. Remini said, “without it [the Church] I’d be in the dumps and I would probably be an animal. I would be a horrible, horrible person.”
In 2001 she said, “I don’t get along with others and there is so many things that Scientology has helped me with. I don’t think I would be ME really without Scientology. I don’t think I’d have the success that I have without Scientology. I wouldn’t be the girlfriend that I am, the daughter that I am, the sister that I am, because this is all because of Scientology and what Scientology has taught me.”
In 2012 Ms. Remini said, “What Scientology has helped me with is confidence. I’ve had somewhere to go to tell someone my fears and I wasn’t crazy, you know, that I could actually do something about those fears, that I could actually be in control of my own feelings, that I could actually be in control of my own career, and that’s what Scientology has helped me with. And I think it’s important for an artist to have some outlet other than your mom who is like ‘Ah, just shut up and go on another audition,’ You know, you need some other help and it’s offered me that help.”
In 2003 she said, “I didn’t want to follow the crowd of people, like the bad people but I also wanted to be a cool person so I was like kind of struggling with the two personalities but being a Scientologist you’re getting in touch with the person that you really are and we really are good people…so I’ve avoided all that by being a Scientologist and by having integrity and by living by certain moral codes that this group abides by, I can look at myself in the mirror.”
In 2007 she said, “You start every day talking about something that I believe in and you start being disrespectful to my religion, to me you’ve crossed the line. But that’s any religion. I wouldn’t be disrespectful to any of my friends’ religion. Or think that they should put up with that. It’s just disrespectful.”
And she said, “I’ve met a lot of people who were ex-Scientologists. They usually don’t, they usually don’t say anything to me. Just as I wouldn’t say anything about their religion, or whatever they are doing. You know, I wish them the best. You know, I want them to live a good life. I’m not going to sit and name call and — you know if it’s not for you it’s not for you! You know what I mean? I’m not going to go off — if I go get a bad facial am I going to spend the rest of the day going, you know, ‘This salon over here isn’t…’ you know? I mean it’s just like, it’s just a waste of time. Just go on with your life. I get scared of people who run around making this their, their mission in life. It’s like, please. It’s, it’s crazy, but it’s insane. There’s so many things to be doing in life rather than running after people who are doing good!”
After Ms. Remini was no longer able to keep herself in check, she became the hypocrite she is. She now regurgitates the tired myths the Church has repeatedly debunked, circulated by the same tiny clique of expelled former staffers bitter at having lost the positions they enjoyed before their malfeasance and unethical conduct was uncovered. Ms. Remini is now joined at the hip wit this collection of deadbeats, admitted liars, self-admitted perjurers, wife beaters and worse.
If your “Untitled Documentary Project” is honest, it should be renamed “Leah Remini: Desperate for Attention and Money.”
We previously dealt with some of these accusations in a story about how Scientology is attacking Leah and her show. We continue to find it incredible, for example, that Scientology carps about the way Leah tried to enlist the LAPD to get information on the whereabouts of church leader David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly, who first vanished more than 11 years ago. Scientology’s complaints that Leah tried to find Shelly don’t really carry much weight as long as Scientology still hasn’t produced the woman or said anything about where Shelly is being kept out of sight. (That said, we are pretty confident about where she’s being held.)
Also, on a personal note, it’s nice to see that our old friend, Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, hasn’t forgotten us. We had lunch with Karin back in 1999 or 2000 at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre’s fine dining restaurant. She had invited our editor, who dragged us along, which didn’t seem to make Karin very happy. At one point during the meal (we had Chilean Sea Bass and wild rice, which was excellent), she got so flustered from our questions about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s esoteric ideas about religion, she shouted out, “So we think Jesus is a figment of the imagination! So what!”
We’re looking forward to your thoughts on Karin’s performance in this letter. How much of it, for example, do you think was actually written by Scientology leader David Miscavige?
San Diego going Ideal today
Here’s how the Scientology org on 4th Avenue looked last night as it was getting ready for today’s grand re-opening. If you can go by, please let us know what you see!
Go here to start making your plans.
E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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