Leah Remini calls for a federal investigation into Scientology's "abusive practices"

The actress and former Scientologist also criticized actress Elisabeth Moss for her affiliation with the church

Published August 9, 2017 5:24PM (EDT)

Leah Remini   (AP/Richard Shotwell/Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Photo montage by Salon)
Leah Remini (AP/Richard Shotwell/Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Photo montage by Salon)

Leah Remini, an actress and former member of the Church of Scientology, has used her platform over the past few years to shine a light on the religion she became a member of as a young girl. Now she's calling for a federal investigation into its alleged traumatizing practices. In a new interview, Remini called out "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss, a Scientologist, for continuing "to support a group that is abusive and destroying families."

"Scientology policy dictates that children are grown men and women in little bodies," Remini told The Hollywood Reporter. "They believe a 7-year-old girl should not shudder at being passionately kissed."

"If you join the Sea Org [a clergy class with a nautical heritage] as a child, your parents give you over to Scientology. Children are treated as crew. They are assets," she said. "And if a child is molested, that child and/or parent cannot go to the police, because it's against policy. They handle it in Scientology."

The actress and anti-Scientology activist has used her new show "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" to examine alleged wrongdoings of the organization. "We've heard from people who were inside Scientology, who told me, 'I watched your show. I went on the internet. I decided to leave. I am fighting for my children after watching your show,'" Remini told THR. "And it's those moments that you go, 'OK — we're doing something.'"

On the show's second season, which premieres August 15, Remini is looking to take more of an "activist" type of approach and wants to portray "all of the abusive practices of Scientology — sexual abuse and physical abuse," with a call for a federal inquiry into the organization's practices.

"I'm talking about the FBI, the police, the Department of Justice, the IRS," Remini told THR. "If the FBI ever wanted to get anywhere, all they would need to do is do a raid. Everybody who's ever gone to Scientology has folders, and anything you've ever said is contained in those folders."

The show has given Remini the opportunity to win an Emmy, as the first season has been nominated for best informational series or special. THR asked what would happen if she bumped into Moss, who is also nominated (outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in "The Handmaid's Tale") and is also a lifelong member of the church.

"Elisabeth Moss believes that she can't talk to me," Remini said. "There's a thing in Scientology called 'acceptable truth.' It means you only say what's acceptable to the public," she explained. "But she believes that I'm an antisocial personality — because I've spoken out against Scientology. So she isn't allowed to talk to me. And me knowing that, I wouldn't put her in the awkward position."

But Remini said she holds nothing against the actress and "would of course" congratulate her. "I don't hold anything against Elisabeth Moss other than she's continuing to support a group that is abusive and destroying families."

"That's for her to learn," Remini added. "Just as I needed to learn it."

By Charlie May

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