Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has aired on A&E for three seasons, from 2016-2019, but will find a whole new audience now that it has arrived on Netflix. After arriving on the streamer in early November, the former Scientologist’s series has now reached the top 10 of the Netflix series for the first time.
This will probably rekindle the wrath of the Church of Scientology. As is typical of the Church’s enemies, Scientology conducted a smear campaign against the actor King of Queens when the series first aired on A&E.
In fact, the Church of Scientology created an entire Web site dedicated to slandering Reminis names, leahreminiaftermath.com. On this Web site, they accuse the actor of inciting violence while writing: “For three years, A&E benefited from the broadcast of Leah Remini’s lies, distortions and calls to hate. These led to threats, violence and the brutal murder of a Scientologist in January 2019 in Australia. Before committing his heinous act, the killer spread vicious anti-religious propaganda spurred on by A&E and the Leah Remini series.
This was not the first time the Church blamed Scientology and its consequences for the murder of 24-year-old Chih-Jen Yeh, who was stabbed in the neck by a 16-year-old whose mother attended a ceremony at the Church’s Australian spiritual center.
A press leaked letter from Church spokeswoman Karin Pouw to A&E President Paul Buccieri is partially read: “Week after week, month after month and now year after year, this series has poisoned the airwaves in a declared effort to stir up hatred against the Scientology religion and Scientologists… Now someone is dead. They have paid for the hatred that caused his murder”.
The Church’s connection between the series and the murder is murky at best. They claim that the killer visited a website that contained a link to the show, and this led to the crime. However, this was not confirmed by the police investigation into the crime.
Leah Reminis co-host (and former church spokesman) Mike Rinder told 7 News Sydney: “They are basically trying to shift the blame for their abuses onto our show. Their statement that all this was caused by A&E and our show because someone apparently looked at a website that mentioned our show – that’s absurd.
On the website of the church about Reminis Show some personal attacks are then made on Remini himself. It says: “Leah Remini announced in 2014 in a BuzzFeed interview that ‘I don’t want to be known as that embittered ex-Scientologist’. Not only has she become exactly that because she has failed to move on with her life, Remini’s anti-Scientology scam is the dead horse that keeps hitting her in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.
This BuzzFeed interview is something the Church has quoted before. In a 2015 Church of Scientology statement about Leah Remini, it wrote: “Leah Remini has become what she once declared she never wanted to be known: ‘that embittered ex-Scientologist. As USA Today wrote, Ms. Remini is “as famous as an ex-Scientologist as she is famous as an actress. She needs to get on with her life instead of miserably exploiting her former religion, her former friends and other celebrities to earn money and attention and reappear relevant”.
This statement continues: “Sadly, bitterness and anger run like a thread through the life of Ms. Remini. Ms. Remini presents herself as a spoiled diva with the title “Diva”.”
Scientology’s attacks on Remini could be seen as part of what was once called the “fair game” strategy, a term used by the Church’s Founder, L. Run Hubbard, to describe its policy of using all necessary means to attack those it considers “oppressive persons. Although the Church officially ended this strategy, many claim that it continues to this day.
In 2015, for example, a private investigator pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hack computers after illegally gaining access to email accounts, including those of cattle, after participating in another anti-Scientology documentary called Going Clear.
In her book “Troublemaker” Remini seems to foresee these attacks on her. She writes: “After the Church of Scientology gets its hands on this book, it may spend an obscene amount of money … in an attempt to disparage me.