Leah Remini, who has written a memoir about her decision in 2013 to leave the Church of Scientology, premiered her series on the same topic on A&E Tuesday night. Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath focuses on victims of the secretive group's abuses who are now bravely speaking out about their trauma.
The first episode focused on Amy Scobee, who used to be in charge of Scientology's Celebrity Centres. She claimed that she became a member when she was 14, and was sexually abused by her 35-year-old superior. "He was married, and he had me stay back when everybody else left, and basically we had sex," she said. "This was statutory rape, and I was too afraid to tell anyone about it."
She said her boss told his wife, and the two told Scientology officials, but nobody told the police or even Scobee's family. Instead, Scobee blamed herself. "They indoctrinated in me that if anything serious goes on, it's handled internally," she said. "It happened to me, so therefore I must've done something that caused it."
Scobee also revealed details about just how much Scientology fawns over its most famous parishioner, Tom Cruise. She claimed that members of the Sea Organization, who sign a "billion-year contract" to serve the church on very little pay, would sometimes clean Cruise's house and fold his laundry. "I had to hire an executive housekeeper, a maid, a cook," she said. "They wanted him to only be in Scientology 100 percent." Remini herself said she started having doubts about the church when she attended Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' 2006 wedding and noticed that leader David Miscavige's wife, Shelly, wasn't there. When she asked about it, officials were furious; Shelly has not been seen in public for years.
Scobee said she had doubts herself after she saw David Miscavige physically abuse people without repercussions. But first, she allegedly was sent to Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force, where she was cut off from the outside world and forced to do physically grueling labor as punishment for insubordination. Scobee saw non-church members outside the gates and realized she wanted out, so she escaped with no money, no education, and not even a driver's license.
One of Remini's biggest points is about the church's policy of "disconnection," cutting off all communications with anyone who has ever been critical of Scientology. Scobee said her decision to leave tore her family apart, because her mom chose the church over her at first. "I've always been a very up person," Scobee's mother, Bonny, said. "All my life I had never contemplated suicide. But I was sure looking at the end of that tunnel, and there was no light at the end of that tunnel." Eventually, Bonny and her husband left the church and reconciled with Scobee. Bonny passed away from cancer just two weeks after speaking out for the series.
A&E has devoted an entire website to the Church of Scientology's lengthy responses to each episode of the series. The church calls Remini a "has-been actress not a decade removed from the peak of her career" and an "obnoxious, spiteful ex-Scientologist" who "stage managed her departure from the Church of Scientology." And they say Scobee "has been covering up her own transgressions while spreading the same discredited myths and smears for nearly eight years." You can read the full statements on A&E's website. Remini has filed her reactions in a video posted on YouTube.
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