Leah Remini: The King of Queens star sues Church of Scientology


Leah Remini attends the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, CaliforniaImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Remini, pictured in 2019, accused the Church of Scientology of “mob-style operations and attacks”

Leah Remini is taking legal action against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, for harassment and defamation.

The actress, who starred in the sitcom The King of Queens, joined the Church in 1979 as a child and left in 2013.

Remini, 53, claims Scientology’s “mob-style operations and attacks” have “significantly” impacted her life and career.

BBC News has asked the Church of Scientology for comment.

In a statement released to Variety, Remini said: “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.”

According to the press release, Remini filed the lawsuit in the California Superior Court on Wednesday (2 August) 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 labelled as an ‘enemy.'”

Variety reports Remini also seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged harm Scientology has inflicted on her personal and professional life.

The press release refers to “OSA Network Orders” – a reference to directives alleged to be issued by the Church’s Office of Special Affairs.

Remini alleges these orders are a series of retaliatory measures, said to have been implemented by the Church’s founder L Ron Hubbard, to be taken against any individual or organisation that the Church deems to be an enemy.

Named defendants in the legal case are the Church of Scientology, Miscavige and Religious Technology Center, Inc., which, Remini alleges, manages policing operations and principally enforces Scientology’s punishment orders.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Remini (pictured with co-stars Kevin James and Jerry Stiller in 2007) is best known for starring in The King of Queens

Remini alleges that a series of attacks meant to “obliterate” and “totally restrain and muzzle” her were “activated by OSA and their operatives.” The case details alleged “coordinated campaigns” by the Church levied against Remini and her family, friends and business associates.

“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 continued.

“I feel strongly that the banner of religious freedom does not give anyone licence to intimidate, harass and abuse those who exercise their First Amendment rights.”

In 2015, Remini co-created and executive produced a documentary series about the Church, called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which ran for three seasons and won two Emmy Awards.

The actress is best known for starring in The King of Queens, a comedy which ran from 1998 until 2007 and is still regularly repeated in the UK by Channel 4.

In addition, she played smaller roles in Cheers, Friends, and NYPD Blue. She was also a regular panellist on US daytime show The Talk, and finished in fifth place in the 2013 series of Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly.

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