Just a day after King of Queens star Leah Remini revealed her reasons for leaving Scientology, the Church has issued a response to the actress's claims. In an statement to People, a Scientology official dismissed Remini's accusations, saying that her statements about the Church's policies are "absurd, insulting and motivated entirely by a desire to grab attention."
Said Karin Pouw, a Scientology spokeswoman, "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."
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Remini claimed that there were "dozens of influencing factors" in her decision to leave the Church, namely the amount of time it required that she spend in services, away from her family. When she tried to voice her concerns to friends within the church, she found that "they didn't care about doing the right thing," and were focused solely on the disruption any changes would cause in their lives.
Remini left the Church last July after 30 years of membership, saying only at the time that she was thankful for the "overwhelming positive response" she received from friends and fans. Remini, along with fellow actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, was one of the best-known members of the controversial religion.
Now, she's claiming that "everything the Church taught me was a lie."
According to Pouw, however, it's Remini who's lying. Said the spokeswoman, Remini's reveals omitted the details "that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice," and that she was already "on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses."
Despite Remini's claims that the Scientology was taking up too much of her time, Pouw said, the actress had not attended services for years, and was even upset that no one in the Church was giving her "special treatment." Pouw also stated that Remini went "so far as to drag her daughter into the Church," even though Remini's Buzzfeed interview stated that a primary reason for her decision to leave Scientology was her 9-year-old's upcoming initiation into the Church.
Regardless of whose version of the truth is accurate, the "he said, she said" debate over Scientology is fascinating to witness. The religion has been a source of controversy for decades, with high-profile members like Remini and Cruise defending its practices against critics who deem it damaging, controlling, and even dangerous. Remini's celebrity will give her claims an edge, but the Church's statements leave matters unsettled.
What is clear, though, is that whatever the real truth is behind Remini's exit, she won't be welcome back into the Church anytime soon. Said Pouw, "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."
Remini's response is only a matter of time.