Leah Remini Files Lawsuit Against Church of Scientology for Harassment and Defamation

The actress left the organization in 2013 and has long been outspoken about its alleged practices.

Leah Remini is suing the Church of Scientology. On Wednesday, the 53-year-old actress filed a California lawsuit against the church she's long spoken out against for civil harassment, stalking, intentional inflection of emotional distress, tortious interference with contractual relationship, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, defamation and false light. 

Remini -- who's spoken out against the church in her Emmy-winning docuseries, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, in her 2015 memoir, Troublemaker, and on her podcast, Fair Game -- names the Church of Scientology International, Inc., Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, and Religious Technology Center, Inc. in her complaint, which ET obtained.

The church previously responded to Remini's criticisms, including claims made in her book, in a 2015 statement to ET.

"It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former faith as a publicity stunt by rewriting her history with it, including omitting that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses," the statement read.

According to a press release announcing the lawsuit, Remini filed her complaint in an attempt to end what she alleges are mob-style operations and attacks on her and other alleged victims and survivors of the Church of Scientology and their advocates.

"For 17 years, Scientology and David Miscavige have subjected me to what I believe to be psychological torture, defamation, surveillance, harassment, and intimidation, significantly impacting my life and career," Remini said. "I believe I am not the first person targeted by Scientology and its operations, but I intend to be the last."

"With this lawsuit, I hope to protect my rights as afforded by the Constitution of the United States to speak the truth and report the facts about Scientology," she added. "I feel strongly that the banner of religious freedom does not give anyone license to intimidate, harass, and abuse those who exercise their First Amendment rights."

Remini's complaint concerns alleged actions of the Office of Special Affairs, including monitoring the activities of Scientologists and non-Scientologists and exacting revenge and retribution on anyone who has been declared an enemy of Scientology -- practices that the actress claims began at late Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's direction. Those directives, the suit alleges, cannot be changed under Scientology's rules.

Remini claims that she was a target of such behavior, which she alleges was enacted against her in an effort to "totally restrain and muzzle," "obliterate" and "utterly ruin" her.

Remini, who left Scientology in 2013, claims such actions began in 2006, after she raised concerns about the whereabouts of Miscavige's wife, Shelly, at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' wedding. 

The complaint alleges that Scientology attempted to discredit Remini's TV series by having 200 Twitter accounts tweet "intentionally false and libelous information," including the allegation that the show incited hate crimes against Scientologists.

Remini additionally claims that iHeartMedia producers and executives "grew so fearful" of Scientology that they "made the decision to terminate" her podcast "to protect its employees and agents, even though the show was successful in its ratings."

The actress also alleges that she was surveilled and stalked by Scientology for years, and claims that people under the direction of the church attempted to break into her home multiple times.

Remini further addressed the lawsuit in a blog post, explaining how her outspokenness against Scientology has impacted her life.

"While advocating for victims of Scientology has significantly impacted my life and career, Scientology’s final objective of silencing me has not been achieved," she wrote in part. "While this lawsuit is about what Scientology has done to me, I am one of thousands of targets of Scientology over the past seven decades. People who share what they've experienced in Scientology, and those who tell their stories and advocate for them, should be free to do so without fearing retaliation from a cult with tax exemption and billions in assets."

Remini is asking the court for a trial by jury of all issues that are triable, a declaratory judgment that Scientology has violated the law, injunctive relief requiring Scientology to cease and desist its harassment, defamation, and other unlawful conduct and striking all Suppressive Person and Fair Game policies, directives and OSA Network Orders, and for damages.