Leah Remini's book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, has been out for just a few hours, but it's already causing a lot of buzz. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, she stopped by Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show to talk about it, and to address some of the shocking claims she makes about the church and its members.
Asked about former pal and celeb Scientologist Kirstie Alley, who famously slammed Remini in a 2013 interview with Stern, the King of Queens alum said she "understood" why Alley was angry. (The Kirstie star denied that she was upset about Remini leaving the church, but said she took issue with the actress' "bulls–t" claims about being shunned.)
"I wasn't hurt, I understood it. Because I know the policy," Remini told Stern on Tuesday of Alley's previous comments. "So I understand that hiding behind religious bigotry is the route to go…I know why she thinks she's angry. And I know, again, hiding behind that veil is something that is her policy. She doesn't know really anything that I'm saying. She will not read the book."
In fact, Remini is pretty sure "nobody in Scientology will read the book, other than their people who make those genius statements," she told Stern. "Because they see me as an enemy."
According to the actress, 45, Scientologists are forced to "disconnect" from anyone whom the church deems a "suppressive person."
"If I did [run into Kirstie], I wouldn't say anything, because I know she couldn't talk to me," Remini told Stern. "I'm shunned. She couldn't talk to me. Same with Tom Cruise. He couldn't talk to me. And I wouldn't put them in that position. They'd look away, they'd walk away. They'd go to another room."
The church, for its part, has dismissed Remini's claims as "revisionist history," saying in a statement, "She needs to move on with her life instead of pathetically exploiting her former religion, her former friends, and other celebrities for money and attention to appear relevant again."
The statement continued: "Sadly, bitterness and anger are common threads through Ms. Remini's life. Ms. Remini is showing herself to be a shallow, spoiled individual with a sense of entitlement who obsesses endlessly over such petty matters as seating and limo arrangements, how she looks in a photo, and who believes other people's family matters are her business."
The church further claims that Remini was "expelled" from Scientology for "repeated ethical lapses and callous treatment" of other members. "She now regurgitates the tired myths the Church has repeatedly debunked, circulated by the same tiny clique of expelled former staffers bitter at having lost the positions they enjoyed before their malfeasance and unethical conduct were uncovered," the statement read. (The full statement is here.)
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