Actress Leah Remini, who’s come out as one of Scientology’s most vehement critics following her A&E docuseries “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” said that while she was with the church, she was asked to recruit some of her coworkers and best friends.
In a People cover story, the “King of Queens” star said that she was asked to convert her costar and friend Kevin James into the church, but she refused, saying that he had religious obligations of his own.
“They always tried to get me to, [asking] ‘Why is he not in? Why have you not promoted it to him?’ I was like, ‘Because he’s Catholic. He doesn’t want anything to do with it,'” Remini said. “They let it go after a while, but usually you’d be expected to recruit, especially with somebody you work with for nine years.”
The church denied Remini’s claims. In a statement sent to TheWrap, a spokesperson said that it never asked Remini to recruit James.
“We had nothing to do with Kevin James and never attempted to ‘recruit’ him to the Church,” the statement read. “Leah Remini never made this claim in her book so now fabricates it to garner more tabloid press. The only thing we know about Kevin James is what Remini repeatedly told the Church–that he was a bully. We counseled her to be more open and communicate with him so they could get along better.”
A Scientology statement previously obtained by People sought to discredit her claims.
“It is Remini who is the attacker,” a Scientology spokesperson said. “Her whole anti-Scientology shtick was scripted and choreographed by her, casting herself in her drama as the ‘victim’ so she could cash in on her false narrative while savaging her friends and those who helped her most of her life.”
Remini joined the Church of Scientology when she was a child, along with her parents. She left in 2013, soon publishing a memoir “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.” The first season, which details the history of the Church and shows Remini speaking with people who have left, of her A&E series was nominated for two Emmy awards. The second season premiered on Aug. 15.
Remini will also be reuniting with James in the second season of “Kevin Can Wait,” where she has signed on as a series regular.