Actress Leah Remini has filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, alleging years of harassment, intimidation, and defamation as retaliation for her criticism of the church since leaving it a decade ago. The 60-page lawsuit, seeking a trial by jury and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to Remini’s representatives.
Remini, known for starring alongside Kevin James in the CBS sitcom “The King of Queens,” spent over 35 years as a Scientologist, becoming a prominent public face of the church. However, after her departure in 2013, she became an outspoken critic. She published a memoir in 2015, titled “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” and hosted the docuseries “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” on A&E, which shed light on allegations of abuse and manipulation by former members.
The lawsuit alleges nine counts, including civil harassment, stalking, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation. It describes a “coordinated and malicious” campaign by the Church of Scientology to ruin Remini’s life and livelihood. The alleged abuse includes stalking, surveillance, and the spread of misinformation through hundreds of Scientology-controlled social media accounts. The church is also accused of paying social media companies to promote posts targeting Remini.
According to the lawsuit, the harassment extended beyond the virtual realm. Dozens of people allegedly filmed messages falsely accusing Remini of abusive behavior towards her mother and daughter and being a racist. Private investigators hired by Scientology allegedly followed Remini during a book promotion tour in 2015, prompting her to hire bodyguards.
In response to the lawsuit, the Church of Scientology denied the allegations, describing the lawsuit as “ludicrous” and the accusations as “pure lunacy.” The Church, known for its associations with Hollywood celebrities, has faced increased scrutiny in recent years due to Remini’s docuseries and other media investigations.
The lawsuit claims that the harassment has taken a toll on Remini’s personal life and career, leading to the loss of personal relationships, business contracts, and other opportunities. Remini expressed her intent to be the last person targeted by Scientology’s alleged operations and hopes that the lawsuit will put an end to the harassment she claims to have endured for years.