People are intrigued by Scientology - so it's no surprise that plenty of folks are pumped for the first episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

Actor Remini, who starred on the TV show The King of Queens, made headlines when she documented her flight from the church in the 2015 best-selling book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.

Now she is taking her crusade to a different medium, teaming with TV network A&E to release a series that documents her time within the church.

She also shows how the secretive organisation tears families apart, especially when one or more members leave.


The network has already received multiple threatening letters from the Church of Scientology ahead of the debut episode, in which Remini is described as a "has-been actor" and "spoiled, entitled diva".

Remini responded in a bold manner - she had her lawyer send a letter to the church demanding it retract the letters and pay her $1.5 million in compensation.

She says it's a small amount when you consider she donated more than $3 million to the church during her time as a Scientologist.

In the lead up to the premiere she conducted a frank interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and participated in a warts-and-all AMA (ask me anything) session on Reddit.

In her chat with The Hollywood Reporter she detailed a rather unsettling phone call that she had with some people high up in the church ... one of which was actor and Scientology poster-boy, Tom Cruise.

They were calling her in the hopes that she could use her celebrity influence to get a 60 Minutes report (which expressed negative views about Scientology) pulled from broadcast.

"I got a call from the church and Tom to call Les Moonves [at network CBS] and use my influence to squash the story," she recalls.

So I called Les Moonves, even though I was really uncomfortable with it. And he said, "Listen - you're not the only one who has called me about this and I have no right to interject my opinion of what I like or don't like with the news organisation of CBS and I will absolutely not engage this conversation. I'll tell you or anyone else who calls me."

He said, "I don't give a sh** if it's you, if it's Tom Cruise, if it's Jenna Elfman, you're all going to get the same story from me." And I said, "OK." And then I called them back and said, "Hey, I tried."

According to Remini, the powers that be weren't happy.

"They just weren't happy that I couldn't squash the story. I said, "I'm just a f***ing actor on television and I can't demand that my boss take a f***ing report off the air."

The journalist also asked Remini whether any celebrities who were still in the church had reached out to her since she had left, or criticised her.

"Why would they reach out to me? They aren't allowed to talk to me," she responded.

"That's the policy of the church. I know Kirstie Alley made a comment about me and I'm sure others will". [In 2013, Alley called Remini a "bigot" on The Howard Stern Show.]
Leah Remini, who was born into Scientology, left the church in 2013.

Remini was just as unflinching with her responses in the Reddit AMA (where anyone signed up to the website can post a question to be answered in real time).

She said that Scientologists truly believe Cruise is "single-handedly changing the planet" and is something of a messiah figure for them.

One Redditor asked "do you think there are members of Scientology reading this AMA?"

Remini responded: "Do I think? I know. Hi Karin Pouw! If any Sea Org member [someone who works for the church] is currently reading this and ... wants to leave, I will help you ... including Karin."

Another person asked "do you personally feel like you're being watched/tracked/etc by the church for doing everything your doing?"

"I am," she replied. "I'm okay with it because I knew what I was getting into and I knew the policies of the 'church' and what would happen by my speaking out against it."

The question was also posed: "Have any other actors come to you for support or help?"

"The policy of the "Church" does not allow them to come to me," she responded.

"Former high ranking Sea Org members like Debbie Cook and former members like Katie Holmes are forbidden to speak to other SPs [abbreviation for suppressive person, or "anti-social personality" ... basically anyone who speaks against the church]. Certain members are forced to sign agreements that does not allow them to speak to ex members".

The Church of Scientology has yet to comment on Remini's AMA, but in the past they have issued this statement about her:

"Desperate for attention with an acting career stuck in a nearly decade-long tailspin, Leah Remini needs to move on with her life. Instead, she seeks publicity by maliciously spreading lies about the Church using the same handful of bitter zealots who were kicked out years ago for chronic dishonesty and corruption and whose false claims the Church refuted years ago, including through judicial decisions."