Part Two of an A&E documentary series chronicling horror stories that happen within the Church of Scientology is taking the world by storm. It’s called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath 2 with lead cast members actress Leah Remini and former Scientology member Mike Rinder interviewing church members on their experiences of horror in the church. The Church of Scientology has responded to the documentary series, now in production of its second season, with hate websites against Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, alleging that Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are guilty of hate crimes, reports the Globe and Mail.
But the hate websites, a famous concept in the Church of Scientology whenever someone speaks out against the church, are offering no evidence of the alleged hate crimes in question. In Part 1 of the documentary series, episodes and former church members told tales repeatedly of how the church responds whenever someone exposes something horrific happening in the church.
The responses by the church against those speaking out against the church allegedly include stalking, threatening family members, and hate websites against anyone that speaks out against the church.
There is no other church on the planet that responds to criticism this way on a repeated basis, as part of their practice and policy.
Former Church of Scientology members Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are not the first to speak out against the church. However, with the documentary series hitting the mainstream, they are getting more recognition for their exposes than many other series and newscasts on the same subject. The church is greatly displeased and is saying and publishing anything they can do in their attempts to mitigate the damage of the horror stories coming out against the Church of Scientology.
Season One of the documentary ended with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder leaving a lawyer’s office, after seeking legal counsel in how to address some of the issues they have faced since the documentary began airing last year. The season ended on a cliffhanger, with the pair being unable to relate to the camera crews what came out of that lawyer meeting.
Season Two promises to be just as dramatic, with a hint of a two-hour preview airing at the end of May called “Merchant of Fear.” In that episode, we learned that Leah Remini and Mike Rinder may even have enough evidence to go to the Los Angeles Police Department with some of their complaints against the Church.
In a recent roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Leah Remini said it was her “passion” to put an end to the Church of Scientology.
“What we are trying to do is show that this is a real thing that’s tearing families apart. People really had no idea. But we’re showing how a person can actually get there, and that’s what’s resonating. Also we’re standing up to a bully and in a culture where people are feeling apathetic, we’re representing a group of courageous people who are saying, ‘No, I’m going to do something about it.'”
In the preview for Season 2, the “Merchant of Fear” we see celebrity heavy hitters telling their accounts of the Church of Scientology. Entertainment Weekly highlights Crash director Paul Haggis’ experiences with the Church of Scientology.
“I publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. I was declared a suppressive person, an enemy of the church eight years ago. I guess I was the first person of real note to speak out against the church….They weren’t happy with that.”
Haggis recounts tales of people going to his property to spy on him in an attempt to intimidate him, telling him that he needed to be held accountable for just telling his story. He didn’t think much of it at first, but he does now.
“At the beginning, I excused them. They were my friends, and I excused them. You know what? Damn them now, for being purposely blind to their faults.”
Leah Remini said that the purpose of the documentary series now is not just to expose the church and its wrongdoings, but to bring justice to the victims that have suffered at the hands of the church.
“Engaging in litigation with Scientology is not something that anyone but a fool does lightly. This season we have to do something about it.”
The Globe and Mail notes that when someone leaves the church and tries to speak out against it, they are labeled a “Suppressive Person” by the church, or, SP.
“The treatment that befalls SPs is meant to be so unbearable, and in some cases so completely life-ruining, that they’ll cease their crusade to bring down Scientology.”
One way the church does this is through hate websites, where websites are published that do everything they can to discredit people. Leah Remini and Mike Rinder both have such websites dedicated to them, created by the Church of Scientology. They are not the first to attain such fame by the church; it is a long-standing practice of the church to develop a website against anyone that attempts to expose them.
No other church on the planet does this on a regular basis.
In the hate websites, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are accused of heinous things. The websites feature letters and statements from family members and other members of the Church of Scientology saying Leah Remini and Mike Rinder inspire “hate crimes,” that they are only after the money with the show, and are selfish and abusive people.
There are no details about the alleged hate crimes provided. Incidents that occur against the church by different individuals are blamed on Leah Remini and Mike Rinder. One former member of the church suffering from bipolar disorder threw a brick at the church.
On the Leah hate website titled Leah Remini Aftermath, Leah Remini was accused of a hate crime for that incident, and the church believes she incited it. But the hate websites against the two creating this documentary do not provide any evidence that Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are guilty of hate crimes. Nor have Leah Remini and Mike Rinder been charged with any hate crimes.
Nowhere on the websites are there corrections to the stories featured in the A&E documentary to provide evidence that Leah and Mike are lying. Leah and Mike are called professional and paid liars, but no specific examples are provided as to what they are accused of lying about.
The Church of Scientology is not saying, “We do not engage in this behavior.” Rather they are only saying, “These are disgruntled former members who can not be trusted.”
In fact, as “Merchant of Fear” illustrates, it is the church policy to attack the individual exposing the church, and not to discuss abuse allegations directly. A Scientology Thought Police blog reveals page 151 of the Tech Volume II in the church policy, the policy states the following.
“The defense of anything is untenable. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK…the law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway…will generally be enough to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him entirely.”
The church’s goal for anyone that exposes them then is to ruin that person entirely, not to, fight the allegations against the Church of Scientology. This is actual church policy, and the hate websites are merely carrying out that policy.
Leah and Mike feature dozens of stories of heartbreak and abuse in the show, where families and individuals talk about being stalked, locked up in rooms, abused by the church, and separated from family members permanently.
There isn’t a single story on the hate websites saying, “No, those stories about the Church of Scientology didn’t happen.”
There’s a story on the Leah website about her own father, calling her selfish because she did not give him $1200 for a health care scan. It’s entirely possible, and probable by the looks of it, that Leah and her father are estranged. That would make Leah one of millions in America with complex family relationships.
It would make Leah one of thousands in the Church of Scientology with complex family relationships. Further, it is clear that although she may have strained relationships with her father, she does have some family that support her in Scientology and the Aftermath 2.
This week, Leah’s sister Nicole Bella Remini tweeted a picture indicating pride that Leah Remini had become a billboard for the show. Nicole Remini thinks Scientology and the Aftermath 2 deserves Emmy consideration.
When it comes to Mike Rinder’s hate website, called Who is Mike Rinder, the hate crime allegations are similar, and in some cases more severe. There is a cease-and-desist letter printed June 8, 2017, to the outlet known as Deadline from Mike Rinder’s ex-wife with abuse allegations against him.
Mike Rinder’s ex-wife even suggests that the highlighting of Mike Rinder’s side of the story is reminiscent of the Nazi era, and she calls it terrorism. Her cease-and-desist letter is just a personal letter, and not a formal cease-and-desist letter written by an attorney.
“It makes me think of what is going on in the world today and what has happened in the past (witness Germany 1939 – 1945) and I see that interviews as you just published are the reason for terrorism, bigotry, and religious discrimination. Regards.”
Mike Rinder was a member of the church who was once tasked with the job of harassing people for exposing the church. He did so willingly. It is something he carries guilt over to this very day. In “Merchant of Fear” he becomes quite emotional over this when confronted by people, such as BBC journalist John Sweeney and others, who were directly attacked by Mike Rinder.
Mike Rinder says his work with this expose is an attempt to find his own peace over his past actions.
“It’s painful to look back at that and try and put myself back into that position. I’m not sure that I was really any different than those people [who are in the church now.]”
John Sweeny became so angry with the church after working on a report on them, he lost his temper on camera. The church has since tried to use that footage as a means to discredit him.
John Sweeney is known worldwide for his hard-hitting interviews. He has been to war to report on terrorism and even interviewed Donald Trump about his alleged Russian associates Felix Sater, during which Donald Trump got up and walked away.
John Sweeney is not someone that gets easily flustered by an interview subject that doesn’t like what they are hearing. However, the Church of Scientology flustered him. The Irish Times reports what happened to John Sweeney after covering the Church of Scientology.
“For a time I felt hunted. People turned up at our wedding. They called to my mother-in-law’s home, in Devon, asking questions. People came to our house, making fake deliveries to our neighbours. I was uncomfortable, dark, and scary. No question. You don’t fall out with the Church of Scientology and do it lightly.”
John Sweeney’s work on the church eventually turned into a book titled, The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology. He also was a keynote speaker at a two-day conference in Dublin, where his speech was intended to “reveal the abusive conditions, financial exploitation…and broken families that lie behind the Scientology organization’s veneer of religiosity.”
The Globe and Mail reports that Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are not deterred by the attacks against them through the hate websites, the chronic stalking, and the legal battles ahead with the Church of Scientology. They are concerned with getting the abuses on record, for the world to see.
Leah said every time they go to someone’s house to hear their story, she thinks it’s going to be worse than she originally thought, and it always is. Here is an excerpt from Season Two.
Season 2 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath 2 is currently in production and expected to be released in Summer 2017 on A & E.
[Feature Image by Omar Vega/AP Images]