The premiere of Leah Remini’s docuseries on A&E about the Church of Scientology might only be a week away, but that doesn’t mean that the two parties aren’t still duking it out. In fact, the church has allegedly tried preventing the show from airing and communication between the two parties has gotten so bad that Remini is now demanding the church pay her $1.5 million in damages.
According to reporting done by Tony Ortega at the blog the Underground Bunker, which has long kept tabs on Scientology affairs, lawyers for the two sides have been arguing back and forth about the show with neither side really giving ground. According to legal letters from both parties obtained by the blog, the church allegedly tried discrediting the series — and Remini — to higher-ups at the TV network in an effort to prevent the show from airing. Church officials reportedly wrote to the TV network, calling Remini a “spoiled, entitled diva” and “has-been actress.” Ouch.
In response, Remini’s lawyers wrote that the church should pay the actress for all of the emotional and economic damage they’ve inflicted on her. Now, if your first reaction was that there’s no way that would happen, you were very, very correct. The church responded to Remini’s letter with a bitter statement saying her “demands are nothing more than a provocative ploy to generate publicity for what will no doubt be another failed program by a failed ‘celebrity’ seeking to make a buck off of her former religion.” Yep, that’s definitely the opposite of backpedaling.
Remini has been a vocal critic of the Church of Scientology ever since she left it in 2013. Remini, who is most famous for her role in King of Queens, also published a memoir last year, Troublemaker, detailing her family’s role in the church and her eventual falling out with it. And in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday, Remini spoke again about the immense “bullying” that the Church participates in when members speak out against it. “I felt I had a responsibility to say, ‘I’m not going to allow you to bully these people who were very brave to come out and tell their stories,’” she told DeGeneres. “There are just average parishioners … The Church goes after their family to shun their family, often times. I’m very lucky that that didn’t happen to me. My family chose me.”
The eight-part A&E docuseries, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, premieres on November 29 at 10:00 p.m.