Leah Remini is suing the Church of Scientology for harassment and emotional distress

Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology and an outspoken critic, is suing the church, its leader David Miscavige, and Religious Technology Center, Inc., for civil harassment, emotional distress, defamation, and more.

In a complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, which was viewed by EW, the actress and author, who joined the church as a child in 1979, claims that the defendants have “undertaken a campaign to ruin and destroy” her livelihood ever since she publicly departed the religion — and was deemed a so-called “Suppressive Person” — in 2013.

“From the moment Plaintiff Remini departed Scientology, she was declared a suppressive person and has been subjected to a series of acts of harassment by Defendants and Defendants’ operatives,” the suit claims.

It continues, “Defendants’ course of conduct includes, but is not limited to, following, surveilling, and stalking Plaintiff, sending Scientology operatives to break into Ms. Remini’s gated community, stealing her personal residential mail, vandalizing her mailbox, planting and/or attempting to plant spyware in close proximity to her home, sending harassing correspondence to Plaintiff and to others, including business associates and sponsors regarding Plaintiff, and creating a social media smear campaign against Plaintiff that includes false and malicious accusations made against Ms. Remini, and at times, her family.” 

Leah Remini attends the Critics’ Choice Real TV Awards on June 02, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Leah Remini

| Credit: JC Olivera/WireImage

The suit further alleges that the church, Miscavige, and the center have “incessantly harassed, threatened, intimidated, and embarrassed Ms. Remini’s family members, friends, colleagues, and business associates, causing her to lose personal relationships, business contracts, and other business opportunities” over the years. 

As a result, Remini claims that the defendants have caused her emotional distress, “significant and ongoing economic harm,” and “forced her to endure a new but never-normal life in which Scientology’s surveillance, abuse, and lies are the punishing, inescapable, daily cost of exercising her First Amendment right and moral duty to speak out about Scientology’s conduct.” 

The suit also accuses the defendants of stalking, harassment, and spreading misinformation online and in news articles in order to damage Remini’s reputation and career. Remini claims that after the release of her 2015 novel Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, she became “aware that she was being followed by private investigators hired” by the defendants who were “so intimidating that it made Ms. Remini fear for her physical safety.” 

It continues, “As a result, Ms. Remini, for the first time in her life despite being a public figure, was forced to hire private bodyguards to ensure her safety during her book tour.” Remini is still stalked “to the present day,” per the suit. 

The Scientology and the Aftermath presenter also claimed that multiple business contracts were nixed as a result of continued harassment online and in letters from the church’s followers. Among them was her working relationship with iHeartMedia, which previously published her Scientology: Fair Game podcast with fellow former Scientologist Mike Rinder.

According to the lawsuit, “Defendants intentionally interfered with Ms. Remini’s contractual relationship with iHeartMedia, without any justification, through actions including but not limited to: writing false and disparaging accusations about Ms. Remini and her podcast on various social media websites and twitter accounts owned, operated and/or controlled by Defendants and Defendants’ operatives; sending disparaging letters about Ms. Remini to iHeartMedia’s executive vice president and COO, producer, podcast audio editor, and advertisers; and harassing iHeartMedia’s podcast producers until they decided to end its contractual relationship with Ms. Remini on March 7, 2022.”

Remini also alleged that she’s “experienced scores of incidents of credible threats of violence” that “could not, and did not, serve any legitimate purpose” and made her “fear for her own safety and the safety of her immediate family.”

“Defendants’ knowing and willful course of conduct directed at Plaintiff has occurred for at least ten years and continues to this day; it has alarmed, annoyed, and harassed her, without any legitimate purpose other than to cause her harm,” it read. “The conduct is at such a level as to cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress as has been suffered by Ms. Remini.” 

Now, Remini is demanding a trial by jury and seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the “enormous economic and psychological harm” that she had faced and to “punish and deter” the defendants from “continuing their unlawful campaign of harassment and intimidation.” She is also seeking injunctive relief that requires “Scientology to cease and desist its harassment, defamation, and other unlawful conduct and striking all Suppressive Person and Fair Game policies, directives and OSA Network Orders.” 

“This lawsuit is ludicrous and the allegations pure lunacy,” the church responded in a statement. “Remini spreads hate and falsehoods for a decade and is now offended when people exercise their right to free speech, exposing her for what she is—an anti-free speech bigot,” it continued.

“While advocating for victims of Scientology has significantly impacted my life and career, Scientology’s final objective of silencing me has not been achieved,” she wrote in the post. “While this lawsuit is about what Scientology has done to me, I am one of thousands of targets of Scientology over the past seven decades. People who share what they’ve experienced in Scientology, and those who tell their stories and advocate for them, should be free to do so without fearing retaliation from a cult with tax exemption and billions in assets.” 

Remini went on to note that the press should be allowed to report on Scientology without “facing a sophisticated intelligence operation from Scientology to destroy their personal lives and their careers” and that authorities should be able to investigate crimes without “fear that they will lose their jobs.”

She concluded, “With this lawsuit, I hope to protect the rights afforded to them and me by the Constitution of the United States to speak the truth and report the facts about Scientology without fear of vicious and vindictive retribution, of which most have no way to fight back.”

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