Actress Leah Remini has harsh words for Scientology, the controversial religion she left in 2013.
On Monday, she appeared on the Today show, to promote her upcoming show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which delves into ex-members’ stories. She told Savannah Guthrie what motivates her to speak out: “I’m not a big fan of bullies, so it is part of who I am, and I was a fighter in the church, this is what they taught me, and so I’m going to continue my fight, but I’m on the right side of that fight now.”
Both in her upcoming show and her 2015 book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” Remini accuses Scientology of abusing its members. The church has consistently denied the allegations and labeled the accusers liars. Remini responded to that on Today: “People are talking about their experiences [in Scientology] of physical abuse and mental abuse, and to be called a liar and victimize victims is not OK with me.”
Remini also addressed how Scientology manages to keep its membership, in light of these allegations of abuse. She told Today that it’s due to the risks of leaving, saying, “People say, ‘Why not just get up and leave?’ Well, you’re leaving everything you’ve known, you’re giving up your whole life, because that is what it takes to be a Scientologist.”
Remini is the latest high-profile Scientology member to leave and publicly criticize the church. In 2009, writer/director Paul Haggis broke from the religion, but other notable actors like Tom Cruise and John Travolta remain members.
Via Jon San, Yahoo