The news that Leah Remini's series Scientology and the Aftermath was coming to an end at A&E likely shocked a few fans who were enthralled by the former King of Queens star's journey after leaving the controversial religion. But the show will not be going out with a whimper.
Hot on the heels of news that Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology are being sued, the network announced that the final episode will dig into the allegations against the former star of That '70s Show and The Ranch. Using Masterson's allegations as a jumping point, the final episode will also deal with other assault allegations within the church and the official policies against reporting them.
The series premiered back in 2016 and instantly became a ratings hit thanks to its topic and the awards chatter it created, earning several Emmy nominations according to the New York Post. Remini claims she never planned for the show to go on for most than a couple of seasons but its success helped keep it moving along. She had previously told The Post that the show is "emotionally draining" given the subject matter and her personal connection. That said, she has a clear goal in mind.
"Ultimately it needs its tax-exempt status taken [away], so they can stop using the millions of dollars they use each year to follow and harass people and bully them into silence," Remini told The Post. "Churches have tax-exempt status because you're supposed to be helping and servicing the public."
The lawsuit filed against the Church and Masterson regards alleged stalking and harassment by members of the church, similar to what is described by Remini above. The four women behind the lawsuit previously accused Masterson of rape and sparked the ongoing investigation against the actor.
Two of the women in the suit have chosen to remain anonymous, with three being former members of Scientology themselves. They allege that they were targeted for harassment as "retaliation" for going public with their allegations.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, Master was fired from his role on the Netflix series The Ranch where he starred alongside That '70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher. The actor was also let go by his agents at United Talent Agency.
This is not the first time that the series had attempted to cover the Masterson allegations on the air. A planned episode was shelved back in February 2019 according to The Daily Beast, following a smear campaign against the show and some of the accusers who appear to tell their story.
"We are experiencing classic Scientology attacks," one of Masterson's accusers who remained anonymous told The Daily Beast at the time. "The week that the decision was made by the A&E network to move forward with the airing of the episode we did for Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, letters started circulating from various sources directed at A&E and Disney calling for the show to be taken off the air, declaring the show and its contributors to be bigots and many other hurtful names. And just this week we discover that at least one of these letters was in fact forged and done without authorization. We were put through these manufactured attacks."
Scientology is denying many of the claims in the lawsuit and the upcoming finale for Remini's series according to Fox News.
"From everything we have read in the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It's a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini is taking advantage of these people as pawns in her moneymaking scam," counsel for the Church of Scientology said in a statement.0comments
It is unknown if the planned episode from February will be the final episode or if it has been edited to fit a new plan.
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is set to air its final two-hour special on A&E Monday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. ET.