Leah Remini is enjoying ratings success for her controversial A&E docuseries “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.” Weeks after her show debuted to 2.1 million viewers, becoming the cabler’s top new series, the actress is still speaking up against the church.
Having become a Scientologist at age nine, following in the footsteps of her mother, Remini departed in 2013, after spending 34 years in the church. She was one of the organization’s most prominent celebrity supporters.
In Remini’s A&E series, she visits former Scientologists who share their horror stories of being involved with the church, such as being abused, being stripped of money or being separated from their families. In the episodes, the ex-Scientologists have told Remini that they believe the church should be shut down. Remini agrees.
“I hope that the IRS takes a look because they’re hiding behind freedom of religion, and they love to run around and say that everyone is a bigot because we’re attacking their abusive policies,” Remini told Variety in a recent interview (watch below). “I hope that the government agencies that are responsible for protecting people like in this show start to get their heads out of their asses and do something about it.”
The most notable celebrity Scientologist is undoubtedly Tom Cruise, who has been featured on the A&E series. Remini says it’s likely he will never leave — but she tells Variety that she hopes he does.
“I hope so because people who knew Tom [Cruise], before he was fully brainwashed, said that he was a sweet and loving person and he’s turned into something else — something unrecognizable to people that have known him,” Remini says.
Over the years, many tabloid reports have stated that Cruise has chosen Scientology over his daughter with Katie Holmes, Suri Cruise, and according to Remini, that’s in fact the church’s policy.
“I know the policies of the church when someone like Katie leaves that Katie Holmes is considered a Suppressive Person by the church and is to be shunned. That would be the same for her daughter,” Remini said. “I would hate to see him continue to give up real relationships for something that is not good and that is not decent.”
Remini also hopes that John Travolta would leave, but says that he’s committed to the church.
“John loves Scientology and John believes that Scientology is everything. He’s a very sweet man,” the former “King of Queens” actress says. “I don’t think they’re going anywhere.”
Travolta’s reps had no comment. Cruise’s team did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
When asked for comment by Variety, the Church of Scientology responded with a link to their new website, LeahReminiAftermath.com, launched in response to her new series.