With an Emmy in tow, Leah Remini is pressing on with her third season of Scientology and the Aftermath in the name of exposing the alleged abuses of her former religion. And for the first time since the documentary program’s renewal earlier this year, Remini has opened up about what viewers can expect from upcoming episodes, during a candid conversation with Ron Miscavige, a former Scientologist and the father of the group’s controversial leader, David Miscavige.
“We have another season coming up where we once again are exposing [things],” Remini said during Saturday’s episode of Ron Miscavige’s Life After Scientology podcast. She also said season 3 will investigate the alleged disappearance of David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly Miscavige, as well as various abuses Remini claims are still being committed by church followers.
Scientology has consistently refuted previous claims of abuse and misconduct made by Remini and her Scientology and the Aftermath subjects, calling the series “nothing more than a scripted, rehearsed, acted, and dramatized work of fiction” that serves as a way for Remini to “profit” by “harassing her former religion and its parishioners.”
Since its 2016 premiere on A&E, Scientology and the Aftermath has featured dozens of former parishioners —including Remini and cohost Mike Rinder — as they speak out against what they allege are harmful practices carried out by the Church of Scientology, including coerced abortions, cover-ups of sexual assault, and policies that lead to the separation of families. Remini told Ron Miscavige that while she has come under fire from the church ever since exiting the religion in 2013, she had yet to experience Scientology-sanctioned backlash as intensely as she did while filming season 3 of her show.
“It has been worse this season than any other season for us and for our contributors,” she said. “They are kind of dialing up the attacks in that they’re going after people who are not used to this. They’re going after people who are just good men and women who are saying, ‘Listen, I wasn’t a Scientologist, but I was willing to speak out,’ or, ‘I want to know where my family member is after watching Going Clear and listening to what happened to everyone at the [Scientology international headquarters] Gold Base.’”
She added, “They’re getting stonewalled again and getting attacked by Scientology. This is happening every day.… Every day that we have filmed the show, there has been some kind of attack from either Scientology… or just regular parishioners that they’re activating to attack.”
When reached for comment on Remini’s Life After Scientology comments, a representative for the church told EW: “Even a cursory review of this fringe podcast shows Leah Remini to be unhinged and delusory, reflecting Remini’s growing paranoia. Remini finds new conspiracies around every corner, inventing stories out of whole cloth to incite hate crimes against members of her former religion.” The church further noted that Remini’s accusations are only “so-called controversies” that “are manufactured by a handful of anti-Scientologists seeking to exploit people’s curiosity about the religion” before pointing viewers to www.scientology.tv for more information.
Remini said she feels this is normal behavior for Scientology under the church’s “Fair Game” policy, which she claimed is employed by the church to silence detractors by any means necessary (including surveillance, stalking, and public shaming). Although the Church of Scientology has repeatedly stated that the policy was consistently misinterpreted by critics and ultimately canceled in 1968, Remini said her “contributors are being followed.”
The church, she alleged, “continue[s] to hire private investigators to pretend to be reporters saying, ‘Oh we’re investigating this person for abuse and sexual allegations.’ This is is all part of Scientology policy on Fair Game. And they continue to do it, and they should not be doing this under the protection of the First Amendment. That’s kind of what we’re going to be exposing this season.” In a letter to EW, the church’s lawyers said the church has not followed Ms. Remini, nor does it harass former members.
Remini said what she’s “really getting at” in season 3 is moving past superficial grievances with the church in order to take legitimate action against weightier issues.
“What we’re saying is that [with] the abusive practices of Scientology, they should not be allowed to have tax-exempt status. And we’re laying out a case for our audience, but [also for] the government agencies who need to start taking a real look at why… we can only present the case to the world that these abuses are going on under the guise of religion,” she said. “You want to call yourselves a church? Fine, but you should not have tax exempt status where you are fraudulently taking people’s money and their lives, taking away their children, trying to bully them into silence by having millions of dollars… to abuse and harass people into silence.” The church maintains that it operates consistent with its religious and charitable mission, and that Remini’s allegations should be discredited because of her “extreme bias.”
Remini previously told EW season 3 of Scientology and the Aftermath might expand its focus to explore other religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. There is no word on whether or not such an investigation will take place in future episodes.
Season 3 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is slated to premiere in the months ahead on A&E. Listen to Remini’s full appearance on Life After Scientology above.