The A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath focused on a controversial subject. And its star isn’t done yet.
When Leah Remini left Scientology — a group she belonged to for 35 years — in 2013, she didn’t depart quietly into the night. The star decided to go public with her story on an A&E docuseries, and as executive producer and presenter, she chronicled the fraught experiences of other former members.
“We must stand for people who don’t have a voice to speak for themselves,” Remini says. “That’s why I stayed in Scientology: I believed I was doing righteous work. Now I’m using that same tenacity, but moving it to the right side of the fight.”
(The Church of Scientology disputes the claims made on the series, saying Aftermath “is nothing more than a scripted, rehearsed, acted, and dramatized work of fiction.”)
Remini didn’t always have the confidence to speak out. “I have an eighth-grade education,” the 47-year-old says. “I felt apathetic about making real change in the world.” Not anymore. Remini nixed her original plan to end the series last year when, she says, she saw people coming out of the shadows to share their experiences during the show’s run. Season 2 will air this summer, with Crash director Paul Haggis (a former Scientologist himself) entering the fray.
This, Remini says, is her way of helping. “I’m not the Department of Justice. I’m not the FBI. All I can do is present my case to people.”