Screenwriter/director Paul Haggis praises Leah Remini for leaving Scientology
Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis has come to the defense of ex-Scientologist Leah Remini following her split from the church, writing an open letter about how the actress' celebrity friends attacked her and praising her bravery. And haggis knows how it goes, following his own break from Scientology in 2009.
Writing he and Remini "were always friendly but never close friends," Haggis notes "she had always been a class act and a lovely human being." Then he started to dig into all the alleged attacks being levied against her, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"In the last few days, I read some things that really disturbed me. First was the way Leah was being attacked by her celebrity 'friends,' who were disparaging her character," Haggis wrote. "Having witnessed Scientology’s smear tactics, I can imagine how this was being orchestrated, but I was still shocked to see how quickly those friends -- some of whom had known Leah for 20 or 30 years -- jumped on the 'malign Leah' campaign, and with such apparent glee."
Then Haggis said he learned she was in trouble with the church for questioning leader David Miscavige, a mistake the writer/director said he had made by asking the church to look into
"charges of abuse detailed by the Tampa Bay Times" and suggesting Miscavige was fallible.
"Unlike her pious friends, Leah refused to accept the easy excuses that were offered. She kept asking questions," Haggis wrote. "The next thing I learned made me feel terrible. Leah got in trouble because of me, because when I was 'declared' a 'Suppressive Person' and shunned, she came to my defense -- without me ever knowing it."
In fact, Haggis says, it was Remini's tweets with Haggis that ultimately led to her leaving, after she was "turned in by a celebrity friend" for the exchanges.
"I can’t express how much I admire Leah," he writes. "Her parents, family and close friends were almost all Scientologists; the stakes for her were so much higher than for me. Her decision to leave was so much braver."