Statement of the Church of Scientology International
A&E is profiting from spreading hate that results in threats, violence and now a murder. A young Scientologist in Australia has been slashed to death as a result of A&E’s broadcast of programs whose very purpose was to create religious bigotry against the Scientology religion, so that A&E might profit. Prior to committing his heinous act, the murderer spouted vicious religious hatred and propaganda, incited by A&E and the Leah Remini/Mike Rinder series.
We have repeatedly warned A&E that the network’s sponsorship of the Remini/Rinder bigoted television series is generating an escalating number of vile threats and violence against our Church—more than 600 individual incidents including specific threats to assassinate the leader of the religion, acts of criminal assault, vandalism, arson, bomb threats and other violence:
- A woman drove a car through the front doors of the Church of Scientology of Austin, Texas, stopping just short of the nursery. The convicted felon called Leah Remini “a true inspiration!!” and when informed that no one was hurt, her response was “That’s too bad.” The woman said “Thank you many times over to Leah Remini” as the inspiration for her crimes.
- A man with an arsenal of guns was arrested for threatening to assassinate the Church’s ecclesiastical leader. Convicted of a felony and jailed, the man told police he was influenced by “the King of Queens lady.”
- Another man vandalized our U.S. headquarters and threatened to murder the leader of the religion. Knowing this—and after the man had been convicted of a felony and was under a criminal restraining order for these criminal acts—A&E and Leah Remini brought the felon on her show to praise him for his criminal conduct.
- Following one episode of Remini’s show the Church received an email stating “You should all terminate yourselves. Or come to my neighborhood and let me do it for you.” The sender was identified by police as a fan of the Remini show and a loyal follower on Twitter who has a Facebook account displaying his assault rifle.
- A Facebook user posted: “I hope someone blows your fucking building up on live tv!!!” The man turned out to have convictions for grand theft and burglary. He further wrote that he would “join the fight with Leah Remini and do my very best to end your miserable existence!”
- A man fired a pistol outside a Church religious film production studio and sped away. The shooting occurred at the exact spot Remini, Rinder and their producers had previously filmed a staged incident for the show.
- Following the airing of one of Remini’s shows, a cross was defiled at the Tampa Church of Scientology. The criminal was apprehended by police and charged with criminal mischief at a place of worship.
- A man impersonating an FBI agent made threats to the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. Police located the caller, who admitted making the threats after watching an episode of Leah Remini’s show.
- Three days after the premiere of Remini’s third season, an anonymous Twitter user named “Ben” posted a series of racist and violent threats including “We need shootings at every Scientology center.”
- Another social media follower of Leah Remini who comments on how she loves her show, tweeted: “I hope they burn down every building associated with Scientology.”
- In a tweet to Mike Rinder and Leah Remini on the day of one of their episodes, an individual threatened that the leader of the religion “just be assassinated. In a painful and humiliating manner.”
- Two days after Remini’s episode about Clearwater, an individual who follows Remini, Rinder and five of their sources on Twitter, upon learning that Clearwater was home to the Church’s spiritual headquarters, wrote, “BURN IT DOWN.”
We have repeatedly told the A&E network about the increased number of threats and actual acts of violence directly attributed to A&E’s promotion and broadcast of the Remini/Rinder programs, all for the financial benefit of A&E. We warned A&E that if these acts of violence continued, someone would be physically harmed or killed.
And now, on January 3, 2019, a man fatally stabbed a member of our Australasian headquarters in Sydney. Previously the assailant had stated his intent to burn down the Church. The killer repeated the same lies and propaganda spread by Leah Remini and her co-host Mike Rinder on A&E’s shows.
A&E’s actions prove they care for nothing but profit, even at the expense of human life. We have repeatedly warned A&E of the ramifications of their for-profit hate campaign. A&E has ignored all of it. Now a young man has been murdered, the killer stirred up by A&E’s programs of religious intolerance, inciting hatred and violence for profit. The climate of hate and fanaticism A&E is promoting must stop.
Leah Remini continues to profit by harassing her former religion and its parishioners, spreading provable lies which generate hate, bigotry and violence.
Recent tragic events, including the slaughter of 11 innocent victims in Pittsburgh solely because of their religion, show the accelerating climate of incendiary religious intolerance we live in today. According to the FBI, hate crimes last year rose for the third year in a row, up 17 percent, with one in five crimes targeting victims for their religion. Ignoring these dangers, Leah Remini treats religion as a commodity that she can monetize by spreading hate to the point of inciting documented threats and violence. Now she wants to turn bigotry into a lucrative franchise, underwritten by the A&E network and its parent companies, Walt Disney and Hearst, expanding her hate for hire campaign into denigrating the beliefs of multiple religions she knows nothing about.
To date, Remini’s reality show has led to some 600 documented threats of violence, death threats, acts of vandalism and hate targeting the Church, its parishioners and its leaders. In recent weeks, shots were fired at a Church facility not long after she and her producers filmed there.
From the beginning, Remini’s series has been nothing more than an empty rehash of the same tired, preposterous myths invented and spread by the same roster of deadbeat former Scientologists who are proven liars. All do so hoping to get attention and money, even admitting their goal is a payoff from the Church. Their only product to sell is the threat of hate crimes and violence generated toward people of goodwill.
Just as A&E was outed after paying members of the Ku Klux Klan hate group to star in an ill-fated reality show, the “Aftermath” producers have been caught paying off the subjects on Remini’s show and giving them a quid pro quo for spreading lies about the Church of Scientology. As part of this scheme, mounting evidence points to the use of a fake charity to secretly funnel payments to those who agree to participate in her vanity production. Remini’s reliance on sources who are paid or compensated via in-kind payments to appear on her show exposes as a corrupt sham A&E’s stated policy of “zero tolerance” for paying sources in documentary programs.
Remini herself admits her former religion provided her help and support for most of her life. But the lure of money has turned her into what she once vowed she would never be: “This bitter ex-Scientologist.” Remini needs to move on with her life and career. She needs to stop blaming the Church and others for her unhappiness and setbacks in life. More importantly, she needs to stop promoting dangerous hatred and religious intolerance to line her pockets.
The real story of Scientology that Leah Remini won’t tell can be found on the Scientology Network, where viewers are taken behind the scenes of the world’s fastest growing modern religion. It’s not the story of hate that Leah Remini peddles for profit, but one of people worldwide joining to address problems that plague society such as drug abuse, crime, and literacy as they stand for freedom and human rights.
Hate in Her Heart $$$ on Her Mind
Leah Remini proclaimed in a 2014 BuzzFeed interview that “I don’t want to be known as this bitter, ex-Scientologist.”
Not only has she become exactly that by failing to move on with her life, Remini’s anti-Scientology shtick is the dead horse she keeps beating in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.
Remini made her highly publicized “exit” from the Church of Scientology in July 2013 via a story leaked to the supermarket tabloids. Her career at the time was already in free-fall, plunging at an increasingly faster pace.
Now she exploits her former religion to further her career since even as a chair on Match Game, she failed and was voted not to return because of her “disruption” and “terrible answers.”
How Remini Recruits Bullies to Join her Harassment Campaign
It hardly seems a coincidence that Remini’s troubles were mounting as she drifted from and eventually was kicked out of the Church. She began cozying up to the usual handful of crazed anti-Scientology zealots lurking on the Internet fringe. She also was on the verge of being expelled from the Church for refusing to abide by its high ethical standards and began spying for these bullies.
After her tabloid-orchestrated departure announcement, Remini’s first move was to file a false “missing persons” report in August 2013 to harass the wife of the leader of the religion. It was part of a harassment campaign cooked up with bullies Mike Rinder, Marc and Claire Headley and Tony Ortega. 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 Remini’s absurd claim within hours, calling it “unfounded.” Remini wasted valuable public resources in an attempt to viciously harass the Church leader’s wife, whom Ms. Remini has obsessively stalked.
Within hours, what had been a gloating Remini turned red-faced with embarrassment when the LAPD closed the case. Unable to admit or accept she was wrong, Remini continues unsuccessfully to try to spread her myth. There is no goodwill in her actions. Her false reports have nothing to do with a big heart. They have to do with the burning resentment usually only found in a cast aside, vindictive and bitter ex-wife.
Within hours, what had been a gloating Remini turned red-faced with embarrassment when the LAPD closed the case.
How Leah Remini Viciously Breaks Up a Family
Remini’s dishonesty and disregard for others is a matter of public record. In 1997, she launched a secretive extramarital affair with a married man (and father of a 4-year-old son), Angelo Pagan. When Pagan’s wife at the time, Raquel, found out, she took her story to the Star, claiming that Remini had “coldheartedly wooed her husband” and “didn’t care about destroying a family.”
Raquel Pagan also had real concerns about her son living with Angelo and Remini (who were eventually married in 2003). In a declaration she filed in the divorce case, Raquel stated that her son got in trouble at school for talking about “naked girls and sex.” When Raquel asked him where he got the information, he said he got it from TV “at Daddy’s house.” Raquel found out from the other kids that after a certain hour, “porn comes on the TV at Dad’s house.”
Leah tried to destroy Angelo’s ex-wife as she always does with her imagined “opponents”.
Raquel was not the only ex-wife Leah tried to destroy. Elaine Aviles, the mother of two of Pagan’s sons, found herself cut off from her sons by Pagan and Remini. An affidavit filed in the Angelo-Raquel divorce case reveals the unethical behavior Remini exhibited in private. Elaine stated that Remini had shouted profanity and insults against her, and went so far as to tell Elaine she was going to make sure she did not see her older son again.
“…it was used by Angelo and Ms. Remini as a revenge, for taking Angelo to court… They begun to prevent me from any contact with my son. Ms. Remini even interrupted a private conversation I had with my son Alex by phone. She began to shout out profanity and insults against not only me but also against Angelo’s ex-wife, Raquel. She went as far as to tell me that she was going to make sure that I did not speak with my son Alex and that she would make sure I would not see him again.”
The Remini-caused splintering of Pagan’s family, along with her threats and efforts to keep the mother of Pagan’s children from seeing them, exposes Remini as a phony. This callous attitude is typical of Remini’s treatment of family members.
How Leah Remini Callously Treats Her Own Family
In January 2014, National Enquirer ran a story about Leah Remini snubbing another of her sisters, who was dying. Remini’s stepmother, Donna Fiore was quoted in the article as stating, “Leah turned her back on Stephanie while she was dying, and I am furious about it!” It adds that Remini “ignored Stephanie’s pleas for help” before Stephanie died on New Year’s Eve.
“Leah turned her back on Stephanie while she was dying…”
Years earlier, her own father wrote that Remini had refused to loan him $1,200 to pay for a CAT scan during a cancer scare. He also stated that he called her three times to wish her happy Thanksgiving, and that each time she was too busy to take the call.
As her estranged father stated, “You are still the same person you were in Brooklyn. Except you have money and a home, you’re still a self-centered bitch. Everyone around you knows that but because their survival depends on you they really don’t say what’s really on their mind.”
“You’re still a self-centered bitch.”
Likewise, Remini’s stepfather, George Marshall, has discussed at length problems Remini has with family members. In July 2012 he wrote, “Leah’s sister (younger) Shannon was in tears 3 weeks ago … she was talking about how hard it was working for Leah lately. How critical she was about her work in the house office … In the last 3 months she has fired her mother at least twice. Vicki has quit her post 2 or 3 times because of her critical argument over house things… Shannon has been fired a few times.”
In the same report Marshall states, “Angelo has said a few times [in] the past 4 months she doesn’t want to be married anymore to him.”
How Leah Remini’s difficulties in getting along with others extends to her professional life
In March 1999, Remini was sued by her then-managers, Handprint Entertainment, because she refused to pay them their 10 percent commission. Handprint claimed it played a critical role in landing her the six-season deal to star in King of Queens. The case was settled in September 2000.
In 2003-2004, Remini also was involved in a lengthy dispute with her former business manager, with whom Remini had broken her contract. The two battled for months in arbitration until it was finally resolved in April 2004, with the arbitrator concluding that the former manager had not violated any rules and that he should be compensated by Remini for 13 of the 26 episodes of the 2001 season of King of Queens. Remini also paid him a settlement amount for breaking the contract.
In February 2002, this former manager wrote about Remini hurting her career through her self-destructive behavior: “While working through a long renegotiation of Leah’s television deal, the producer of her show … stated that her overall negative attitude and general negative manner was one of the reasons he felt she did not deserve a certain compensation package… Leah is on her fourth publicist in a year and is having problems with her current publicist after only three months of working together. Leah has been very antagonistic and fault-finding with all of them in turn.”
“Leah is on her fourth publicist in a year and is having problems with her current publicist after only three months of working together. Leah has been very antagonistic and fault-finding with all of them in turn.”
Remini’s brief job as one of the hosts of The Talk ended in acrimony in 2010, with co-host Sharon Osbourne publicly complaining about Remini’s “negative, unprofessional and childish behavior.”
Hate and anger are embedded in her personality, which is always seeking to be at “war” with someone or something. This attitude is something the Church was continually trying to help Leah with.
How Leah Remini Doesn’t get Along with Others
The wild allegations that Remini now serves up to the media about Scientology to get attention come as no surprise to Scientologists who knew her.
“Since she was 14, this was a person that always had to be involved in wars,” said one former friend who has known her since childhood. “There was never a period of time when Leah was having a calm life. It was always huge dramatic outbursts against people.”
Prior to her official announcement that she was no longer a Scientologist, Remini desperately tried to handle her inability to get along with others. “I don’t get along with others…” was a common Remini refrain.
“I don’t get along with others” was a common Remini refrain.
When Remini was unwilling to reform, mend her behavior and become a better person, she began to spread discontent and malicious rumors and lies about individuals in the Church who tried to help her, while refusing to raise her own ethical standards.
Still, Church of Scientology staff continued to work with Remini to help her sort things out. They saw firsthand how demeaning and arrogantly she treated others. In describing what it was like to work with her, one person said:
“In working with Leah, what struck me as most difficult is how she treated her subordinates. Her description of them or their lack of efficiency in serving her needs was followed with a vulgar description of their ability or inabilities or their shortcomings… Her mother also worked for her and she would constantly complain how she was not doing her job adequately. This was a common threat to those that worked under her charge, and she was quite vocal about this and speaking in vulgar, degrading statements how they are incompetent…”
They saw firsthand how demeaning and arrogantly she treated others.
One former friend who has known her since childhood said, “This is really nothing more than bullying.” The former friend went on to say, “Haters hate. And they always feel justified in their hate and they always fabricate stories to justify their hate. Hate is hate. Leah is a hater. She’s been a hater since she was 14.”
While the self-absorbed Remini treats her break with the Church as one of the most significant historical events of the last 500 years, her former friends can barely even greet it with a yawn.
“Nobody cared,” said one former friend. “Leah was never a headline story. She was never an international superstar. She didn’t make the headlines of anything until she started attacking a social betterment group, which was the Church that she was once a part of. It’s getting old.”
“People were like, ‘Good riddance. You’re kind of mean.’ Done. Great. Finished. Goodbye.”
Added another former friend who has known Remini since childhood: “She wanted to be the Church of Leah and she wanted everything about her. And if it didn’t go her way, she would lose her mind. No one cared that Leah left the Church. People were like, ‘Good riddance. You’re kind of mean.’ Done. Great. Finished. Goodbye. There was no ‘escaping the Church.’ It’s like, ‘You don’t want to be a Scientologist? Goodbye.’”