If you do something long enough, it becomes a part of you. This is often true until, well, until it’s not. Religion is a sensitive topic, but if an adult comes out to speak against something that has been a part of them since they were just a child, then there has to be some element of truth to it. Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is even bigger than one person speaking out against something, it is a whole movement.
For context, Scientology is a relatively new religious movement that was formed in 1953. They have a church which is basically a group of connected organizations, corporate or otherwise, who practice and propagate Scientology. The group’s beliefs are controversial at best, which is why words like ‘commercial enterprise’ and ‘cult’ have been used to describe them. They are also not popular for taking kindly to criticism.
Actress Leah Remini joined the church with her mother when she was just nine years old and left in 2013, after 34 years and let’s just say her departure from the religion was not on the best of terms. In 2015, she published a memoir, detailing her life and titled it Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.
The Book which became a successful best-seller inspired other ex-Scientologists to tell Remini their stories too and this was how the documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was birthed. Find out some facts about Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath below.
5 Facts About Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
1. How The Series Began
In her 34 years in the church, Remini was not the only celebrity member, there were also John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Giovanni Ribisi, Jenna Elfman, and Tom Cruise among others but Remini was one of the most devout of them. Using her influence as an actress, she actively helped the church to recruit new members by appearing in promotional videos that buttered the church up.
So, after she published her book and people started coming out to tell their stories too, she felt guilty and responsible for some of them and decided to use the same influence to undo what she’s done by approaching documentarians, Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman, who then helped facilitate with A&E network and began the series in November 2016.
2. Remini’s Co-Host, Mike Rinder, Was A High Executive In The Church
Who would better host a documentary show that investigates an organization than a man who was at the heart of the organization for over four decades? Rinder lived most of his life as a Scientologist and rose in rank up to his peak position as Executive Director of the Church’s Special Operations office until he left in 2007.
According to Rinder, part of his duties to the church was to destroy anyone who dared to criticize it. He was into Scientology so deep with his family that his departure cost him his wife and two grown children who estranged him for leaving.
3. It Has Received Plenty Accolades
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has not just been acclaimed by viewers and critics but has also been nominated for an Emmy Award under the category “Outstanding Informational Series or Special” for two consecutive years since it won in 2017, among other notable awards.
4. The Church of Scientology Did Not Like It
Naturally, authorities in Scientology did not like the documentary and they went to great lengths to show it. Remini reads out what the church is supposedly saying about her on the show and one of such called her a “has been” actress and bitter ex-Scientologist trying to exploit her former religion for money. They also reportedly set up a petition asking A&E to cancel the show.
The church also reportedly sent late-night talk show host, Conan O’Brien, a letter in January 2017, in an attempt to discredit Remini who went on his show to promote her docuseries.
5. It Ended After Three Seasons
Although Remini once said in a statement that she had no intention of making a second season, she had to do just that after a lot of people who were bolstered by the first season supposedly came out. The first season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath had seven normal episodes plus three special ones. The second season premiered in August 2017 and had four more episodes than the first.
It was again renewed for a third season which premiered on November 13, 2018, and ended the series with a special 2-hour-long episode on August 26, 2019.