Leah Remini and her sister were accused of ethics violations involving contact with boys. Church ethics counselors threatened to send both girls to the Rehabilitation Task Force, which has been described by other Scientology defectors as “like a North Korean reeducation camp.”
“When you have screwed up royally in the Sea Org, it’s basically to reform you. You have to wear black. You have to run everywhere you go. You have to call everyone ‘sir.’ … So it’s pretty severe punishment for an adult, not to mention a child.”
Their mother removed them from Sea Org and moved the family to East Hollywood. They stayed with fellow Scientologists while getting back on their feet. There was a big Scientology community there. We slept on someone’s floor… we had nothing… we had a few bags of clothes.” Leah concentrated on taking Scientology courses to “move up the Bridge to Total Freedom.”
Fore the next several years, Leah’s life was spent auditioning, performing in guest roles, and earning money waitressing to pay for her near daily Scientology auditing sessions. At a Cuban nightclub she fell hard for singer Angelo Pagan. He left his wife to be with her, and joined Scientology for her too.
“Had she been into Kabbalah or Buddhist, I would have done anything,” Pagan said. “Muslim? Hey, give me the Koran, let’s go. Baby, if it’s working for you, I’m in.” Angelo introduced Leah to his friends, then-couple Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony (which I promise is important to the story later.) To make things even better, she landed a lead role in a new sitcom, King of Queens.