Leah Remini was pressured by Tom Cruise to try to squash a 60 Minutes report on Scientology, the actress claims in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. Remini, who left the controversial religion in 2013, alleges that the church and Cruise asked her to use her influence as an actress on CBS’ King of Queens to persuade the network to yank the segment.
“I got pressure to call [CEO] Les Moonves at CBS to try and get a 60 Minutes report squashed. I got a call from the church and Tom to call Les Moonves and use my influence to squash the story,” the former Scientologist told THR. “So I called Les Moonves, even though I was really uncomfortable with it. And he said, ‘Listen,— you’re not the only one who has called me about this and I have no right to interject my opinion of what I like or don’t like with the news organization of CBS and I will absolutely not engage this conversation. I’ll tell you or anyone else who calls me.'”
Remini said that Moonves added that he didn’t “give a s–t if it’s you [or] if it’s Tom Cruise” making the request, and says she then called the church back to give them the news. “I said, ‘OK.’ And then I called them back and said, ‘Hey, I tried.'”
According to the actress, who claimed that the church thinks of Cruise as their “Messiah” in an eye-opening Reddit AMA on Tuesday, November 29, the Mission Impossible actor actually negatively impacted the church, causing some members to leave.
“I don’t think he normalized it at all. I think it’s just the opposite. I think there was a time where maybe Scientology was more accepted and I didn’t particularly find him to be a great example of Scientology — of which I made that very known to my church,” she told THR. “Tom is very protected in the church and the church will go to any means to ensure that he stays in … Especially when [Scientology leader] David Miscavige stood up in front of a Scientology event and said that Tom was ‘the best example of a Scientologist,'” she explained. “I know the heartbreak of the average person who works day and night to pay a quarter-of-a-million dollars for their ‘religious freedom’ in Scientology. Those people were the example — not somebody who makes $10-$20 million a picture.”
The actress continues to share her experience with the church in A&E’s new eight-part series, Scientology and the Aftermath, which premieres on Tuesday night. While discussing the new series on the Today show on Monday, November 28, Remini explained that she’s speaking out because she’s sick of “bullies” and feels she has “a responsibility to help out where I [can].”
Us Weekly has reached out to Cruise’s rep for comment.
For the church’s part, they have repeatedly and previously denied Remini’s allegations, telling Us in a statement after the release of her book in November last year: “Desperate for attention with an acting career stuck in a nearly decade-long tailspin, Leah Remini needs to move on with her life. Instead, she seeks publicity by maliciously spreading lies about the Church using the same handful of bitter zealots who were kicked out years ago for chronic dishonesty and corruption and whose false claims the Church refuted years ago, including through judicial decisions.”
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath premieres on A&E on Tuesday, November 29, at 10 p.m. ET.
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