By LAUREN SILVER
LOS ANGELES (Court TV) — In a lawsuit filed in California, actress Leah Remini is accusing the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, of harassment, stalking, infliction of emotional distress and interfering with her ability to work.
The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 2 in the Superior Court of California, alleges that the Church of Scientology institutionalizes retaliatory activities against those it deems “Suppressive Persons,” who speak out against the organization.
The Church of Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, the author of “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.” The religion follows his writings. After Hubbard’s death in 1986, David Miscavige took over as the head of the church.
Remini’s attorneys said that written instructions from Hubbard instruct followers to attack anyone who question the religion have continued to be enforced by Miscavige. The original 1966 directive from Hubbard allegedly said that “(a) People who attack Scientology are criminals, (b) That if one attacks Scientology he gets investigated for crimes, and (c) If one does not attack Scientology, despite not being with it, one is safe.”
Remini alleges in the lawsuit that Scientology hires outsiders and uses its own members to stalk, surveil, harass, threaten and intimidate her and others who have spoken out. She said that the retaliatory strategies are known as “Fair Game” inside the church, and that the tactics have been acknowledged previously in California courts, with one judge observing that “in addition to violating and abusing its own members’ civil rights, the organization over the years with its ‘Fair Game’ doctrine has harassed and abused those persons not in the Church [of Scientology] whom it perceives as enemies.”
Remini says in the lawsuit that she came under attack beginning in 2006, following Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ wedding in Italy. In the lawsuit, Remini said that Miscavige’s wife, Michele “Shelly” Miscavige was not at the wedding, and when she inquired about Shelly’s whereabouts she was forced to go to Florida to undergo an “ethics cycle.”
Remini said that she was held captive in Florida for four months “while she was put through a process that cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars and nearly led her to have a psychotic breakdown. The Scientology process is called the ‘Truth Rundown’ … simply put Truth Rundown is a form of psychological torture meant to rewrite the target’s memories.” After admitting she was the problem, Remini was allowed to leave. She returned to LA and was forced to lie about what happened in Florida and “make amends” with Miscavige and Cruise.
Remini formally left Scientology in 2013, and was labeled a “Suppressive Person.” According to the lawsuit, other targets of the suppressive person policies include “the United States Government, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Attorneys, elected officials, the American Medical Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, stand-up comedians, cartoonists, university professors, district attorneys, judges, other law enforcement, social media users with as few as ten followers, and a mother in Clearwater, Florida who was concerned about her son’s welfare, to name just a few.”
She also filed a missing person report on Shelly, who has not been seen in public for 17 years.
The lawsuit alleges that current and former Scientologists recorded videotaped messages “to make disparaging and false claims against Ms. Remini — including false and defamatory statements that she was abusive to her mother and daughter, and that she is a racist.” The videos remain available online. False statements posted to Scientology-controlled websites falsely claim that she would not help pay for her father’s cancer treatments, that she turned her back on her half-sister and that she ransacked her dying grandmother’s apartment.
Remini released a memoir in 2015 that talked about abusive practices within Scientology, and while she was in New York promoting the book, she says she became aware that she was being followed by private investigators hired by Scientology. Remini claims Scientology sent threats to parties promoting the book, including to ABC News Senior Vice President Tom Cibrowsky and John Bentley in an attempt to prevent her from earning income from the book.
Remini points to several canceled and paused projects as evidence that Scientology has been working to prevent her from working. Remini says that letters were sent to A&E after she created, produced and hosted the documentary series, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.” Remini also alleges Scientology interfered with her contracts with iHeartRadio, AudioBoom and the Game Show Network by sending letters to the networks and their advertisers.
Remini’s lawsuit alleges that Scientology went so far as to give a man with a history of mental illness and violent crimes money and a vehicle with which to stalk her, and that the man rammed his car into the security gates of her community. The man was eventually arrested, and after his release called police to falsely accuse Remini of holding hostages in her home.
Remini also claims the church hired companies to install surveillance technology at her home.
“While Defendants have not succeeded in ‘muzzling,’ ‘obliterating,’ nor ‘ruin[ing] utterly,’ they have threatened and harmed what Ms. Remini holds most valuable — her family, her security, her reputation, and her career.”
In a statement to Court TV, the Church of Scientology called Remini’s lawsuit “ludicrous and the allegations pure lunacy” and called Remini “an anti-free speech bigot.”
Scientology further said that Remini has profited from her “fabrications” as she has spread falsehoods and hate speech about her prior religion. “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.”