A&E SPONSORS HATE AND VIOLENCE
A&E is profiting from spreading hate that results in threats, violence and now a murder. A young Scientologist in Australia has been slashed to death as a result of A&E’s broadcast of programs whose very purpose was to create religious bigotry against the Scientology religion, so that A&E might profit. Prior to committing his heinous act, the murderer spouted vicious religious hatred and propaganda, incited by A&E and the Leah Remini/Mike Rinder series.
We have repeatedly warned A&E that the network’s sponsorship of the Remini/Rinder bigoted television series is generating an escalating number of vile threats and violence against our Church—more than 600 individual incidents including specific threats to assassinate the leader of the religion, acts of criminal assault, vandalism, arson, bomb threats and other violence:
- A woman drove a car through the front doors of the Church of Scientology of Austin, Texas, stopping just short of the nursery. The convicted felon called Leah Remini “a true inspiration!!” and when informed that no one was hurt, her response was “That’s too bad.” The woman said “Thank you many times over to Leah Remini” as the inspiration for her crimes.
- A man with an arsenal of guns was arrested for threatening to assassinate the Church’s ecclesiastical leader. Convicted of a felony and jailed, the man told police he was influenced by “the King of Queens lady.”
- Another man vandalized our U.S. headquarters and threatened to murder the leader of the religion. Knowing this—and after the man had been convicted of a felony and was under a criminal restraining order for these criminal acts—A&E and Leah Remini brought the felon on her show to praise him for his criminal conduct.
- Following one episode of Remini’s show the Church received an email stating “You should all terminate yourselves. Or come to my neighborhood and let me do it for you.” The sender was identified by police as a fan of the Remini show and a loyal follower on Twitter who has a Facebook account displaying his assault rifle.
- A Facebook user posted: “I hope someone blows your fucking building up on live tv!!!” The man turned out to have convictions for grand theft and burglary. He further wrote that he would “join the fight with Leah Remini and do my very best to end your miserable existence!”
- A man fired a pistol outside a Church religious film production studio and sped away. The shooting occurred at the exact spot Remini, Rinder and their producers had previously filmed a staged incident for the show.
- Following the airing of one of Remini’s shows, a cross was defiled at the Tampa Church of Scientology. The criminal was apprehended by police and charged with criminal mischief at a place of worship.
- A man impersonating an FBI agent made threats to the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. Police located the caller, who admitted making the threats after watching an episode of Leah Remini’s show.
- Three days after the premiere of Remini’s third season, an anonymous Twitter user named “Ben” posted a series of racist and violent threats including “We need shootings at every Scientology center.”
- Another social media follower of Leah Remini who comments on how she loves her show, tweeted: “I hope they burn down every building associated with Scientology.”
We have repeatedly told the A&E network about the increased number of threats and actual acts of violence directly attributed to A&E’s promotion and broadcast of the Remini/Rinder programs, all for the financial benefit of A&E. We warned A&E that if these acts of violence continued, someone would be physically harmed or killed.
And now, on January 3, 2019, a man fatally stabbed a member of our Australasian headquarters in Sydney. Previously the assailant had stated his intent to burn down the Church. The killer repeated the same lies and propaganda spread by Leah Remini and her co-host Mike Rinder on A&E’s shows.
A&E’s actions prove they care for nothing but profit, even at the expense of human life. We have repeatedly warned A&E of the ramifications of their for-profit hate campaign. A&E has ignored all of it. Now a young man has been murdered, the killer stirred up by A&E’s programs of religious intolerance, inciting hatred and violence for profit. The climate of hate and fanaticism A&E is promoting must stop.