Leah Remini is famous for acting roles on sitcoms like The King of Queens and Family Tools. However, if you know anything about her personal life, she's also famous for being a part of and then leaving the Church of Scientology. In recent years, she's spoken out about the religion that famously attracts celebrities and is set to continue to do so via the TV platform Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which will air on A&E. In a recent interview, the actress explained how Scientology affected her life for years, alleging that the Church and even Tom Cruise tried to get her to do things while at CBS, including shutting down a 60 Minutes episode. Here's what she had to say:
I got pressure to call Les Moonves at CBS to try and get a 60 Minutes report squashed. I got a call from the church and Tom to call Les Moonves and use my influence to squash the story... 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 organization 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 shit 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.'
This story is nuts. Leah Remini reports that Tom Cruise and others pressured her into trying to stop an episode from happening on CBS, and then she says she actually went out and made the attempt. Clearly, a network head like Les Moonves wouldn't take kindly to a random actor---or in this case actress---trying to tell him how to do his job, and Remini's account to THR basically explains that it didn't go over well. She also alleges that when she failed to change the head of the network's mind, people in Scientology were upset with her.
They just weren't happy that I couldn't squash the story. I said, 'I'm just a fucking actress on television and I can't demand that my boss take a fucking report off the air.'
While the Church of Scientology has not refuted the story, the group has spent considerable time trying to discredit Leah Remini, noting that she will be profiting off of her new A&E series. Here is part of the statement given to the outlet:
Leah Remini is in it for the money and now tries to pretend otherwise. Her claim on Today that, 'I'm not going to get a dime,' as executive producer of her new reality TV show is disingenuous. Ms. Remini obviously is being compensated for this show, just as she profited from her book. In addition, she recently attempted to extort the Church by first demanding $500,000, followed by an additional $1 million, because the Church invoked its First Amendment right to respond to her false claims with the truth. This shows the extent Leah Remini is willing to go to in order to distort the truth about Scientology.
When Scientology weighs in, the religion clearly goes hard. Still, the group hasn't outright stated the incident Leah Remini is referring to didn't happen. In he said, she said situations, it's often hard to know exactly what happened. However, I bet there's one other person who could weigh in on the Tom Cruise/ 60 Minutes incident: Les Moonves. So far, he's stayed out of this one.
You can catch Leah Remini's take when Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath hits the schedule on November 29 at 10 p.m. ET, only on A&E. To find out what else is headed to the schedule, check out fall TV premiere schedule.