Actress Leah Remini sues Church of Scientology for harassment, emotional distress


Actress Leah Remini sues Church of Scientology for harassment, emotional distress

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Actor and former Church of Scientology member Leah Remini filed a lawsuit against the organization and its leader, David Miscavige, on Wednesday. 

Remini, who left the church in 2013 after being a member since childhood, alleged she’s been the victim of harassment, intimidation, surveillance and defamation for 17 years. She’s seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the economic and psychological harm she claims the church inflicted upon her. 

“Most importantly, she seeks injunctive relief to end Scientology’s policies against Suppressive Persons so that current and former Scientologists, and others who wish to expose Scientology’s abuses, including journalists and advocates, may feel free to hold Scientology accountable without the fear that they will be threatened into silence,” her attorneys wrote in a 60-page complaint filed in California’s Superior Court. 

According to the church’s website, “Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being.”

Remini has spoken out against the church for years. But several prominent celebrities, including Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Elisabeth Moss and Danny Masterson, continue to be affiliated with the religion.

Remini has said in the past that Cruise was one of the reasons she left Scientology.

Being critical of Tom Cruise is being critical of Scientology itself … you are evil,” she told  “20/20” correspondent Dan Harris in 2015. 

CBS News has reached out to the Church of Scientology for comment. The church has not yet responded, but the organization has addressed Remini in the past. In a letter to cable network A&E regarding Remini’s docu-series about the religion, the Church of Scientology said Remini was incapable of being objective about Scientology.

“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,” the church wrote in 2016, according to A&E. “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.”

In a Wednesday press release, Remini said she and others should be allowed to “speak the truth and report the facts about Scientology.”

“Those in the entertainment business should have a right to tell jokes and stories without facing an operation from Scientology which uses its resources in Hollywood to destroy their lives and careers,” Remini said. “With this lawsuit, I hope to protect the rights afforded to them and me by the Constitution of the United States to speak the truth and report the facts about Scientology without fear of vicious and vindictive retribution, of which most have no way to fight back.”