After Leah Remini opened up about her decision to leave Scientology, saying "everything the church taught me was a lie," the Church of Scientology is firing back at the actress. In a statement released to People, the church attacks Remini's character, questioning her motives behind the so-called "publicity stunt."
"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," Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw said.
Remini, who was raised in the church, left Scientology in June, citing her 9-year-old daughter Sophia as her primary motivation. "She was getting to the age where the acclimation into the church would have to start," Remini told BuzzFeed."I started thinking of my own childhood and how I grew up resenting my mother because she was never home. ... In my house, it's family first — but I was spending most of my time at the church. So, I was saying 'family first,' but I wasn't showing that. I didn't like the message that sent my daughter."
The actress added that this type of hypocrisy was common within Scientology. "They say they're loving, caring, non-judgmental people, but secretly, they were judging the world for not believing what they believed," she said. "To me, that is not a spiritual person. That's a judgmental person and that is the person that I was. I was a hypocrite, and the worst thing you can be in this world is a hypocrite."
Pouw disputes Remini's claims, saying the actress was barely even involved in the church. "Ms. Remini was not attending church services for years," the statement reads. "In fact, she was upset because no one in the church was calling her or her family, going so far as to drag her daughter into the church to insist upon being given special treatment. Sadly, this is the accurate flip side of the events she now is spinning, which are absurd, insulting and motivated entirely by a desire to grab attention."
While Remini said she isn't "trying to bash anybody" and just wants "people to know the truth," the church isn't buying it. But both parties insist that they aren't looking for a fight. "We are saddened that Ms. Remini now feels compelled to attack her former faith as if there is something wrong with a good work ethic, encouragement to live a drug free life, a happy childhood and strong family — all values she and countless others experience from the strong religious community in the church."