Leah Remini has filed an expansive lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, for harassment, defamation, surveillance, and other unlawful behavior resulting in “psychological torture.”
The 53-year-old actor, who joined Scientology as a child in 1979 and left in 2013, claims the organization’s “mob-style operations and attacks” have “significantly” affected her life and career.
“For 17 years, Scientology and David Miscavige have subjected me to what I believe to be psychological torture, defamation, surveillance, harassment and intimidation, significantly impacting my life and career. I believe I am not the first person targeted by Scientology and its operations, but I intend to be the last,” Remini said in a press release issued on Wednesday.
Remini filed the bombshell 60-page lawsuit in the California superior court on Wednesday in an attempt to “require Scientology, and any entity it controls and funds, to cease and desist its alleged practice of harassment, defamation and other unlawful conduct against anyone who Scientology has labeled as an ‘enemy’”, she stated.
The suit claims the organization orchestrated a pattern of “coordinated and malicious assaults” after Remini’s departure, including public claims that she was abusive toward her mother and daughter and had made racist statements.
The King of Queens star seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged harm inflicted on her “life and livelihood” by the Church of Scientology and its leadership.
“With this lawsuit, I hope to protect my rights as afforded by the constitution of the United States to speak the truth and report the facts about Scientology,” Remini added in her statement. “I feel strongly that the banner of religious freedom does not give anyone license to intimidate, harass and abuse those who exercise their first amendment rights.”
Remini has been a public critic of Scientology for several years after her break with the Los Angeles-based organization. In 2016, she co-created and executive-produced a documentary series called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which won two Emmy awards and ran for three seasons.
Last November, she testified on behalf of the Oscar-winning writer and director Paul Haggis in his civil rape trial. She argued that the church was behind the allegations against the Crash director, who left Scientology in 2009. After the trial ended in a hung jury, Remini posted a lengthy statement on Twitter accusing Miscavige of covering up sexual harassment and assault within the church.
“Scientology was responsible for reporting these crimes to civil authorities but did no such thing. Instead, it covered them up,” she wrote. “Scientology and its evil leader David Miscavige obstructed justice and participated in a conspiracy to cover up these crimes. They have done this many other times in cases of rape and other sexual misconduct.”