Leah Remini posted a heartbreaking message about her father’s death on Instagram on Sunday night, saying that she only found out about her dad’s death when a stranger offered their condolences to her sister. She claims that the Scientology religion not only deliberately didn’t tell her about her father’s death, but that the group had used him as a pawn against her in his final years.
Leah was born in 1970 to George Remini and Vicki Marshall, a Catholic family. When Leah was nine, her mother joined the Church of Scientology, and when she was 13, she and her family moved to L.A., without George.
As Pop Culture reported in 2018, Leah accused her father of being physically and mentally abusive to her and her siblings when they were a family, and of ignoring them and failing to pay child support or visit them once they were not.
“My real dad left his wife and young daughters with no care, no child support & was physically and mentally abusive to my sisters. Now what?” she wrote to a fan on Twitter.
As An Adult
In 2013, Leah left the Church of Scientology. This had no bearing on her relationship with her estranged father, as he was not a Scientologist and didn’t have much to do with Leah at this stage of her life anyway.
However, since Leah left the church, she’s been conducting a campaign aimed at exposing the purported abuses within the religion. The Church of Scientology has, in turn, engaged in a smear campaign against Leah, she claims.
View this post on Instagram
On Friday, I received a message from my sister Nicole, who had been contacted by a stranger passing on his condolences for the passing of our father, George Anthony Remini. We had no idea that he had died a month ago. We weren’t aware that he had been sick leading up to his death. A funeral came and went and none of us knew anything about it. We were not able to say goodbye. He was not able to redeem himself, to ask for forgiveness for his failures and hurts, to become a better man to those of us who couldn’t help but love him. If you read my book, you’ll know my father and I had a difficult relationship, but I always forgave him with a daughter’s painfully endless love and hope. Regardless of his neglect and abuse, I had hoped to one day have some closure. I hoped for him to acknowledge who he had been and what he had done to us as his children. That alone would have been healing in its own way. We never got that, yet I can’t help but grieve. I am angry at myself for crying for someone who didn’t ever cry for me. I am angry that I still wanted this man’s love, I’m angry that the last chapter in our relationship was dictated by Scientology. Scientology took my dad in as a pawn against me and likely robbed him of any last ounce of heart that might have been left in him. I’m angry that Scientology found his personal weak spots and got him on board not with their beliefs but with their smear campaign against me. That was his last presence in my life. Knowing my father, after taking the offer from Scientology to betray me, he wouldn’t have thought that he could ever come back from that in our relationship. If he thought that, though, he would have been wrong. I would have forgiven him as I always did. The little girls inside of my sisters and me will never forgive Scientology for taking away our last chance to have the one thing we always wanted from our father… And that was for him to say “I’m sorry and I loved you.”
Enter George Remini
As part of their smear campaign against her, Leah claims, the church recruited Leah’s estranged father to attempt to discredit her. And indeed, George Remini did indeed make some public statements against his daughter. For example, he recorded interviews in which he claimed that Leah abandoned him and his side of the family, and that she refused to help pay for her half-sister’s cancer treatments.
Now that George is gone, Leah says that the church is still using her father as a tool against him. Though he’s no longer around to discredit her, they kept her in the dark about his death as another attempt to use him as a weapon against her.
That type of thing is par for the course, suggested Leah in June. As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, Leah claimed that current members of the Church of Scientology “stalk” her and other members who have left the religion.
Leah’s New Old Religion
In 2015, as The Christian Post reported at the time, Leah went back to her religious roots, having begun practicing Catholicism again and even having her daughter, Sofia, baptized as Catholic.