A former high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology told Leah Remini on the Tuesday, December 6, episode of her new A&E docuseries that the church allegedly spied on him with a hidden camera placed outside of his home after he left the organization.
“[My wife, Christie, and I] got an anonymous letter in our mailbox saying, ‘You shouldn’t be associating with your neighbor.’ And I go, ‘Wait a minute. Where are they watching from?'” Mike Rinder said on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. “So I walked up around the street and I went, ‘Oh, right there.’ There’s this stupid birdhouse that I’ve seen a hundred times, never even giving it a second thought, and so I went and got a ladder and I walked over there, opened the lid and there’s a camera inside of the birdhouse pointing at our house.”
During the episode, Rinder — who once worked closely with church leader David Miscavige and others — also claimed that he was being followed and that one of his neighbors was a private eye hired to spy on his family. The church, however, adamantly denies the claims.
“Spreading lies and misinformation about Scientology is how Mike Rinder makes his living,” Karin Pouw, a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology, said in a statement to Us Weekly. “Mike Rinder has not stepped inside a Church in nearly a decade. The Church expelled him for severe malfeasance and has had nothing to do with him since. Rinder admitted under oath to being paid by the hour by plaintiffs’ attorneys filing frivolous lawsuits against the Church, which one for one have been dismissed from the courts. In one case, attorneys adverse to the Church paid Rinder more than $22,000. He is now being paid by tabloid media. Rinder is trying to do what he knows anti-Scientologists have done for years, intentionally misinterpret and unfairly tarnish the Church with lies. The truth is that current Church leadership never has and never would tolerate unethical conduct, which is why individuals like Rinder were removed. For more, visit www.whoismichaelrinder.com.”
During production of this episode, A&E received letters from both the Church of Scientology and lawyers for Rinder’s ex-wife and brother, which discredited the former member’s trustworthiness. In one letter, which the network posted to its website, the church claims Rinder “has been peddling this lie to the media since 2009 after vehemently denying it repeatedly in the press for more than two decades” before listing examples of his “record of dishonesty.”
Last month, Remini, 46, exclusively told Us Weekly that she is “considered an enemy of the church” three years after leaving the organization. “If I see bullying, I get involved,” the King of Queens alum explained. “It’s the Brooklyn in me. It is!”
The Church of Scientology has repeatedly denied Remini’s allegations. The organization previously told Us in a statement: “Leah Remini is doing this show for the money, just as she profited from her book [Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology]. In addition, she attempted to extort the Church by first demanding $500,000, followed by an additional $1 million, because the Church invoked its First Amendment right to respond to her false claims with the truth. This shows the extent Leah Remini is willing to go to in order to distort the truth about Scientology. For the Church’s perspective and the truth about the bullies she now supports, go to www.leahreminiaftermath.com.”
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath airs on A&E Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.