In a new lawsuit alleging abusive practices by the Church of Scientology, Leah Remini has implicated Tom Cruise in the top rungs of power in the controversial organization, saying he was “essentially second in command” and describing how she was forced to apologize to him and donate money to his favorite Scientology causes after she was accused of upsetting his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes by asking about the whereabouts of leader David Miscavige’s wife.
Remini also alleged that she had to make amends to Cruise by donating money in honor of his daughter, Suri Cruise. The “King of Queens” actor said it has long been considered “a High Crime in Scientology to criticize (Tom) in any way,” while noting that Miscavige told an audience of Scientologists at a 2004 gala in England that Cruise was “the most dedicated Scientologist I know.”
Remini, who has emerged as one of Scientology’s leading critics since leaving the organization in 2013, filed her 60-page complaint against the Church of Scientology and Miscavige Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. She alleges she suffered years of harassment, intimidation and defamation as part of an organized campaign of retaliation because she has exposed alleged church abuses, starting with her 2015 memoir, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology” and in her Emmy-winning A&E docuseries, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.”
“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,” Remini said in a news release she shared on Substack, CNN reported. “I believe I am not the first person targeted by Scientology and its operations, but I intend to be the last.”
In a statement, the Church of Scientology blasted Remini’s lawsuit as “ludicrous” and “frivolous” and said her allegations as “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,” the statement said. The organization also said her “obsession with attacking her former religion, by spreading falsehoods
and hate speech, has generated threats of and actual violence against the church and its members.”
“All the while … she has profited handsomely from her fabrications, through the sale of hate books, hate podcasts and paid-for tabloid hate television,” the statement continued.
Remini’s lawsuit contains multiple mentions of Cruise, who has long been one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars but who also has became the most famous public face of Scientology. Remini joined Scientology as a child and also became a prominent celebrity member, but she said her status in the church changed after Cruise’s lavish 2006 wedding to Holmes, his third wife.
The event in an Italian castle was billed as “the wedding of the century,” which is why Remini said in her lawsuit that she was surprised that Miscavige’s wife, Michele “Shelly” Miscavige, was “was nowhere to be found.” Shelly Miscavige was assistant to her husband, the “chairman of the board” and her “job was to constantly record everything” he said “so that a team of secretaries could later transcribe his words and orders for dissemination throughout Scientology.”
“When Ms. Remini asked a group of Scientology executives and Tom Cruise’s personal handlers … ‘Where is Shelly?’ she was immediately admonished by the group, despite the fact that she and Ms. Miscavige were good friends,” the lawsuit said.
Remini said she also witnessed other behavior at the wedding that “set off red flags for her, including unethical contacts between various Scientology executives and others at the wedding which she understood to be forbidden by Scientology teachings,” the lawsuit said. In accordance with Scientology practices, which Remini “had been brainwashed” into following, she shared her concerns in a written “Knowledge Report” that she submitted to the church.
But apparently, church executives didn’t like what she wrote. Remini alleges she was ordered to report to the the church’s “spiritual headquarters” in Clearwater, Florida, where she was confronted with “dozens of internal reports from Scientologists complaining about her behavior at the wedding,” the lawsuit said. It “became clear” to Remini that she was being punished for asking where Shelly Miscavige was and for filing reports on David Miscavige and others.”
Remini alleges she was forced to stay at the headquarters, where she had to “undergo” four months of “ethics” training, which she said cost her hundreds of thousands and dollars and which she described as “one of her life’s worst nightmares.”
“After months of psychological torture, Ms. Remini was nearing the point of psychotic breakdown,” the lawsuit alleges. “She finally gave in, rescinded all of her reports, and admitted that she was the problem in this situation (despite it not being true).”
Remini ultimately left the left headquarters and returned to Los Angeles, but she said she “was forced to lie to her colleagues, friends, and family about what happened while she was in Florida.”
To regain her standing in the church, Remini said she had to make peace with David and Cruise. But to do that, she said “she was forced to donate money to name a seat in a theater after Suri Cruise and was forced to raise money for donation to Scientology causes led by Tom Cruise,” the lawsuit said.
The Church of Scientology is widely known for its associations with Hollywood celebrities, including Cruise, John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss. But it has faced growing scrutiny in recent years amid allegations of physical, sexual and financial abuse made by former members. Some of those allegations were made in Remini’s docuseries, while others were exposed in HBO’s 2015 documentary, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” based on a book by Lawrence Wright.
In its statement, the church suggested that Remini is spreading “propaganda” because she can’t work in Hollywood. If she can’t get work, she has “nobody to blame but herself.”
“While Remini was in the church, she had to restrain her antisocial traits,” the statement said. “She said so herself—that Scientology was the only thing keeping her ‘monster’ at bay. 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.”
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆: www.mercurynews.com
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁 firstname.lastname@example.org