Leah Remini Leaves Church Of Scientology [UPDATED]
Actress Leah Remini at the 'Family Tools' panel during the 2012 Summer TCA Tour on July 27, 2012 in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
King of Queens star Leah Remini is reportedly "stepping back" from the Church of Scientology after questioning their excommunication policy.
The New York Post reports that Remini had been subjected to years of "interrogations" and "thought modification" for questioning leader David Miscavige.
According to their source, Remini, who became a Scientologist in the 1970s, is quitting because of policies that don't allow parishioners to question Miscavige's management and for forcing followers to "disconnect" from family members who are labeled "suppressive persons" if they leave the church.
"She is stepping back from a regime she thinks is corrupt. She thinks no religion should tear apart a family or abuse someone under the umbrella of 'religion,'' the source said.
Mike Rinder, a former member of the church's elite Sea Org, posted on his blog earlier this week that Remini made the mistake of asking about Miscavige's ex-wife, Shelly, at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' 2006 wedding. Rinder writes that Former Scientology Celebrity Centre head Tommy Davis scolded her, "You don't have the [bleeping] rank to ask about Shelly."
Shelly Miscavige has reportedly not been seen publicly since 2007, according to a former Village Voice editor Tony Ortega, who is currently working on a book about the church. (Eds. note: See the response from the church below.)
Because of her curiosity, Remini "was put through interrogations and blacklisted within the church that she donated millions to and that her family has spent their lives in. She was put through 'thought modification' for five years," the Post's source claimed.
Rinder wrote that Miscavige "has now turned [Remini] into an avowed enemy of his squirreling and heavy-handed efforts to force her into line, including attempts to control her by working over her immediate family."
A friend of Remini's told the Post that the actress is considering going public "when she sees what the church tries to do. She has heard they use people to scare you into silence."
The source added, "She's from Brooklyn. The church can't hurt her ... they don't have her family, that's all that matters to her." And, "It's not about wanting or not wanting to do Scientology ... The issue is that [Miscavige] is taking down this church and hurting people and families."
A Scientology rep has denied the story and Remini has not issued a public statement.
She did retweet a quote on July 7, "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Other recent defections from the church include Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, Crash director Paul Haggis and Jason Beghe.
UPDATE 7/13: Scientology spokeswoman Karen Pouw e-mailed LAist with a statement about Remini: "The Church respects the privacy of parishioners and has no further comment." Pouw also calling the allegations of “interrogations” and “thought modification” are "absurd" and "pure nonsense." She also notes that Shelly Miscavige's attorney has given statements to US Weekly and The Telegraph denying reports that she is a "missing person." Pouw writes, "Any statement about her, a private person, is inappropriate for publication."
UPDATE 7/12: Remini said in a statement, "I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and from fans around the world. I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support."