The mayor of Clearwater, Florida, has slammed Leah Remini’s A&E Show Scientology and the Aftermath by remarking to the Tampa Bay Times that the town is “more than the Church of Scientology” after the January 22 episode of Remini’s series — which she hosts with fellow former Scientologist Mike Rinder — investigated the area.
On his blog, Rinder revealed that “A lot of city employees have reached out to me and always say that ‘everyone in the city is riveted to the show.'”
The show’s latest episode tackled the effect that the Church of Scientology has had on the area of Downtown Clearwater, Florida — allegedly rendering it an empty area save for the church’s Sea Org members, who are headquartered at the church’s main buildings.
“Today Scientology has almost achieved its objective of complete subjugation of downtown Clearwater, of the city officials, of taking over vast tracts of the city and turning it into the first Scientology city on Earth,” said Rinder in the January 22 episode.
The area’s officials clapped back at the notion that Clearwater is all about Scientology and its adherents. Mayor George Cretekos said to the Tampa Bay Times that there is a “thriving technology sector downtown,” noting that people other than Scientologists work in the area.
A deeper look into the town will be shared in the companion episode of Scientology and the Aftermath‘s “Buying a Town,” which will air on January 29. In the first episode of the two-part investigation, Rinder and Remini were joined by activist and videographer Mark Bunker, Clearwater lawyer Denis deVlaming, and former Pinellas County assistant attorney Betsy Steg.
The Inquisitr recently reported that Remini and Rinder investigated the church’s takeover of the town of Clearwater, the organization’s “spiritual headquarters.”
City Council member Hoyt Hamilton remarked to the Tampa Bay Times that Clearwater officials cannot legally stop their city from housing the church’s main headquarters — or from buying up more properties in the area. To date, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Church of Scientology is the area’s largest landowner, holding at least $245 million worth of property.
“To make it sound like the local elected officials are just acquiescing to Scientology, nothing could be further from the truth,” said Hamilton to the Tampa Bay Times. “We have to play the hand we’re dealt with. The only people that can deal me a better hand than what we have is the federal government. That’s not something the city of Clearwater has the resources to do. The federal government gave them their tax-exempt status. The federal government is the only one that can take it away. We can’t do anything to change that.”
Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath airs Tuesdays on A&E.