Leah Remini’s docuseries Scientology: The Aftermath is diving deep into the realities of the controversial religion followed by celebs like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. Between the work of Remini and writer Tony Ortega, who runs the website The Underground Bunker, Scientology is quickly being stripped of its secrets. Here are a few of the most disturbing ones revealed recently.
1. Sex abuse cover-ups
On the first episode of Remini’s show, former Scientologist Amy Scobee — who was directly in charge of recruiting other church members to basically become indentured servants for Tom Cruise — revealed that at just 14 years old, she was seduced and sexually abused by a married, 35-year-old Scientologist. He told his wife, who told church officials, who completely covered it up. “The organization did not tell my mother, did not tell my father… did not tell the police,” she claimed. “They didn’t tell any authorities because it would be bad PR for Scientology.” Scobee is far from the first woman to make such allegations throughout the years. A quick Google of “Scientology sex abuse” pulls up dozens of instances.
2. “Fair Game” is not so fair
Former Scientologist Mike Rinder spent years of his career in the church trying to ruin the lives of people who crossed them. He is now dedicated to exposing the organization as a dangerous cult and explained to Remini that they have an entire department dedicated to destroying people who try to leave or otherwise displease church leaders using the practice of “fair game.” While the church’s official stance is that this sort of thing was banned in the ‘60s, Rinder insists it still happens. Any so-called “suppressive persons” were targeted with the intent to completely destroy both their personal and professional reputations in retaliation for falling afoul of the organization, including being restrained, held against their will and having lawsuits brought against them, as well as intimidation techniques and even physical assaults.
3. Spy tactics that would make the CIA proud
Rinder told Remini that when he left Scientology, the organization hired a $10,000-a-week private investigator to report on his every move and even bribed his garbage man to try to find incriminating documents in his trash. He found a video camera in a birdhouse in his backyard, pointed into his home, and in their scariest move yet, planted an agent in the house across the street from him with the purpose of befriending his family and gleaning info. When he caught on and moved, the same agent moved to his new ‘hood too. Both Rinder and Ortega had their email hacked by a PI hired by Scientology, who later pleaded guilty to federal hacking charges.
4. Disconnection tears families apart
Remini said she was afraid to leave Scientology because she thought she might never see her family again. Luckily, they stuck with her and left too, but not everyone is so lucky. Nicole Kidman barely has a relationship with the children she adopted during her marriage to Tom Cruise because of the policy, and Rinder’s own daughter went one step further at the behest of church officials with this awful video to coincide with his appearance on Remini’s show.
5. Lisa Marie Presley was responsible for a huge Scientology leak
It’s a little complicated, but in 2013, two men were arrested with an arsenal of weapons, GPS tracking equipment and laptops containing Scientology documents while spying on David Miscavige’s estranged father, Ron. They cut a deal — they’d keep their noses clean for five years, and the cops would hold onto their evidence just in case. No one seemed to be the wiser. But as it turns out, Lisa Marie Presley — herself a former Scientologist — is friends with Ron Miscavige and convinced him to let her leak the case. And leak it she did, with a huge, exclusive story in the Los Angeles Times, plus pieces on NBC and TMZ. The resulting press against the church was damning. Tony Ortega breaks down all the details of the case on his website.
6. Shelly Miscavige is still MIA
Remini’s whole drama with Scientology started when she asked why David’s wife Shelly wasn’t present at Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes. When she left Scientology in 2013, she filed a missing persons report with the LAPD for the former church leader, but the case was closed when the cops claimed they met with her in person. However, to this day, there have been no confirmed sightings of this woman, who Remini said disappeared after falling afoul of her hubby.
On Remini’s show, Rinder revealed that Shelly had previously been hidden away in a secret Scientology camp in California because she “was privy to everything that went on with Dave.” She hasn’t been seen since, although recently there have been a couple of unconfirmed sightings of a small, frail woman who resembles Shelly in the little town around church headquarters — the same place where Scientology prison “The Hole” is located — always in the company of two large men.
7. Coerced abortions
During her on-air Reddit AMA, Remini advised viewers to Google “Scientology and coerced abortion.” Doing so yields a horrifying array of stories. A 2010 investigation by the Tampa Bay Times alleged that members of the Sea Org signed contracts stating they would not have children and if they found themselves pregnant were held in isolation, interrogated and forced to perform manual labor until they gave in and terminated their pregnancies.
The Church of Scientology has refuted all of these claims.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.