On this week’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, former church member Leah Remini joined Scientology critics in a Q&A session with viewers’ submitted questions. This included the panel weighing in on a lawsuit involving a bathroom-licking allegation made against the church, along with Remini opening up about her years-ago exchange with former costar Kevin James about the religion.
Remini hinted that the docuseries — which has wrapped filming on season 1 but is not yet confirmed for a second season — will be back for more. “I just don’t know that we’re done,” she said at the end of the special installment. “You’ll probably see us soon. [We] can’t let anything go.”
The actress, who cried twice during the episode, said the show had been a “tough ride” and “rewarding,” and that she “had only wanted to do eight [episodes].” She added, “[There’s] a lot going on behind the scenes that we’re not talking about.”
Here are the key moments from the Q&A:
1. Remini claimed she was once shunned by church officials after doing a bikini photo shoot for Stuff magazine, and that she was consequently taken off a Scientology “Way to Happiness” parade float.
2. Former top Scientology official Mike Rinder — now a church critic involved with the show — encouraged John Travolta to turn down Quentin Tarantino’s offer for his killer character in Pulp Fiction, which, as it turned out, helped reinvigorate Travolta’s career. “What great career advice. I should be an agent,” Rinder joked. “Sensibly, he ignored me.”
3. Remini said that back when she shared the screen with Kevin James for nine seasons on The King of Queens, James — who is Catholic — told her he didn’t want to join Scientology. “He even said to me once, ‘Don’t try to get me in your Tom Cruise glare,'” Remini said, mentioning the world’s most famous Scientologist. “Kevin was very faithful to his religion.”
4. Celebrities are regarded internally as Scientology’s most valuable emissaries — one expert compared them to athletes on Wheaties boxes.
5. Rinder said that in the wake of late Scientologist Isaac Hayes’ criticism of the church’s failure to reach members of color, Scientology buildings were opened in the traditionally nonwhite communities of Inglewood and Harlem. But Rinder doubted whether local residents actually attended those places.
6. Discussion turned to former Scientology exec Debbie Cook, who was previously sued by the church for violating a nondisclosure agreement. Cook sent a group email allegedly revealing the size of its billion-dollar reserves, and she claimed this led to her getting transported to a double-trailer complex called “the hole,” and that she was allegedly forced to commit acts like licking a bathroom floor clean. (Cook and the church settled the lawsuit in 2012.)
The Church of Scientology has issued the following statement about the show: “Leah Remini is doing this show for the money, just as she profited from her book. 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.”
Tell Us: What’s your take on the claims from Remini and the other show participants?
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath airs on A&E Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.
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