Leah Remini's new A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, makes some shocking claims against the Church of Scientology and what happens to people who leave the secretive organization. Remini, who left the church herself in 2013, has since been an outspoken critic of Scientology, and the second episode of the series claims members of the church stalk and harass church critics.
On Tuesday's episode, Remini talked to Mike Rinder, a former spokesperson for the organization who said his job was to take down anyone who criticized Scientology. "If the Church believed that someone was an enemy that needed to be silenced or destroyed, it was my job and I did it," Rinder told Remini. "If I was told to follow someone, I made it happen. If I was told to discredit someone, dig up dirt on them, get their backgrounds investigated I made it happen."
After he left in 2007, he went public with his accusations against Scientology, and that's when he said the problems began. He said he was being followed constantly, and someone installed a camera in a birdhouse to watch the front of his home. His wife, Christie, said a trash collector told her he was being paid by a private investigator to steal their trash, and a friend they made had been a plant from the church to spy on them. Rinder said that his treatment was a standard response as part of Scientology's "fair game" policy, which he claims says church critics "may be tricked, sued, or lied to, or destroyed."
The Church of Scientology's website claims founder L. Ron Hubbard himself canceled the "fair game" policy as early as 1968 because people were misinterpreting it; according to them, the policy simply meant that ex-members couldn't seek protection under Scientology's internal justice codes.
Even more shockingly, Rinder said that Scientology leader David Miscavige beat him "from 50 to 100 times," but the breaking point is when Miscavige told him he was being sent to Australia and would never see his family again. Rinder's daughter, who is still in the church, sent him a letter saying that he abandoned his family when he left the church and that he has been a bad father to his children.
"I feel bad for the people who were hurt with my actions," Rinder said of his past in the church. "If I can help one person who I may have harmed in the past or prevent someone from being harmed in the future or a family from being harmed in the future, this will all be worth it."
The Church of Scientology released a scathing statement denouncing Rinder, and also have a full website full of responses to Remini's show. Here's an excerpt of their statement about Rinder:
"Spreading lies and misinformation on Scientology is how Mike Rinder now makes his living. Mike Rinder has not stepped inside a Church in nearly a decade. The Church expelled him for severe malfeasance and has had nothing to do with him since. Rinder admitted under oath to being paid by the hour by plaintiffs' attorneys filing frivolous lawsuits against the Church, which one for one have been dismissed in the courts. In one case, attorneys adverse to the Church paid Rinder more than $22,000. He is now being paid by tabloid media."
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