This week’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has the Church of Scientology up in arms. The fourth installment of A&E’s highest rated show in years follows the climb to power of Scientology’s head scion, David Miscavige, as told through the eyes of three former members of the Church of Scientology. The episode is titled “A Leader Emerges.”
The first former Scientology member to open up to Leah Remini was Jeff Hawkins, a marketing specialist who worked closely with Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s and 1980s. Hawkins told Remini that his role was helping spread Scientology through publishing multiple books about the organization, and he was also involved in Scientology marketing materials for television. After he left the Church in 2003, Hawkins became an outspoken critic of Scientology. Well before appearing on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, the former marketing genius that helped build up Scientology published a book about his experience and spoke candidly about his disillusionment. In an interview with the Village Voice, Hawkins discussed how Scientology is failing under David Miscavige’ abusive leadership.
“My own opinion is that organized Scientology is dead. I do not see them recovering from Miscavige’s abusive rule – he has destroyed the entire management structure of the Church and has ‘revised’ the ‘tech’ of Scientology to the point where it is largely useless.”
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has focused a lot of attention on Miscavige’s purported physical and mental abuse of Scientology members, with Hawkins claiming that he was assaulted on numerous occasions.
The second guest on Episode 4 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was Tom DeVocht, who, like Hawkins, had been in the Church for decades before finally breaking free. Speaking to Leah Remini, DeVocht claimed that during his last few years in Scientology he worked closely with David Miscavige, and in that time, he was physically abused by the Church’s secretive leader. Remini was deeply upset following her interview with DeVocht, as reported in Rolling Stone. Having only left the Church of Scientology herself in 2013 after being raised in it since she was a child, Leah Remini seemed to still be struggling with her own personal aftermath.
“Scientology teaches that anything bad that happens to you in your life is your fault. I want people to know, you are a victim. Something happened to you that you didn’t deserve and you don’t deserve to be punished for that.”
The final guest on this week’s shocking installment of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was David Miscavige’s own father, Ron. Ron Miscavige joined Scientology after his son, who dropped out of school and entered the Church when he was just sixteen. Ron told Leah Remini how after he joined, David would refuse to acknowledge him and would ignore him in the Scientology compound,”Family connections are considered a ‘false dynamic. No spiritual being is the father of another spiritual being. On base, he referred to me as Ron, he never called me Dad. And I called him ‘Sir.”
As his power grew, so too did his abusive tendencies. Ron claims on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath that within the Scientology compound, all phone calls, internet, and letters were restricted, leaving Ron cut off from the world outside. When David Miscavige gave his father a Kindle in 2012 without realizing that it had Internet access, Ron Googled “Scientology” and discovered that he had been “living a lie.” Within the month Ron and his wife escaped the Scientology compound. The veteran Marine, like many who have left the Church, published a tell-all book after he left Scientology’s ranks entitled Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me. In it, he recounts how ruthless, erratic, and abusive his son became, as reported in the Daily Mail.
Miscavige further tells Leah Remini and co-star Mike Rinder that after he left Scientology, he was cut off from all of his family members and friends who remain in the compound, including his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The fourth episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath also revealed the story of Paulette Cooper, the first person to write an exposé on the Church of Scientology in 1971. Titled The Scandal of Scientology, the book claimed to examine Scientology’s “nature, beliefs and practices.” Cooper tells Leah Remini how the Church came after her, alleging that she was sued 19 times and even framed for being involved in a bomb scare as punishment for her book. According to the show, once Cooper came under investigation for the phony bomb threat, the FBI raided the Church of Scientology offices and discovered documents detailing an elaborate plan to frame her. Cooper seems not to be the only one targeted by Scientology for exposing their alleged secrets.
The Church of Scientology has created a website devoted to smearing and discrediting Leah Remini, possibly in an effort to undermine the revelations being revealed on Scientology and the Aftermath. The website claims that “Leah Remini’s “reality” show […] is nothing more than a scripted, rehearsed, acted and dramatized work of fiction. She and the other anti-Scientologists in her program have been expelled from the Church for unethical conduct.” The statement continues, “Leah Remini has repeatedly disparaged and exploited her former faith for profit and attention through a series of failed publicity stunts, culminating in her reality TV show featuring a cast of admitted liars who to make a buck have been telling differing versions of the same false tales of abuse for years.”
“As we have stated numerous times, Leah Remini needs to move on with her life and career. She needs to stop blaming the Church and others for all of her personal and professional setbacks and take responsibility. Most of all, she needs to quit promoting hatred and religious intolerance as a means to line her pockets.”
Despite the Church of Scientology’s angry response, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has captivated audiences who eagerly await the next installment of A&E‘s new hit documentary. The fifth episode of the eight-part series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath will air on Tuesday, January 3 at 10/9c on A&E. The episode is called “Auditing.” According to a description on TVGuide.com, Leah Remini will interview Aaron Smith-Levin, a former prodigy of the Scientology auditing program.
Editor’s note: The Church of Scientology’s Media Relations department reached out to the Inquisitr’s editors with a statement; it can be read, in part, below.
“Leah Remini’s “reality” show, like her last one, is nothing more than a scripted, rehearsed, acted and dramatized work of fiction. She and the other anti-Scientologists in her program have been expelled from the Church for unethical conduct.
Many of the family members of those Leah Remini interviewed have voiced their outrage that their personal, private family matters are being used as fodder for “reality” television and have informed the producers of the show what really affected their relationships. It was their choice to no longer associate with these toxic personalities. The Church respects the religious beliefs of others and their families’ personal choices.”
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