On Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Merchants of Fear, Australian reporter Bryan Seymour explained to Leah Remini how he exposed years of alleged abuse experienced by one young Australian man indoctrinated into Scientology at an early age. Shane Kelsey spent years in the church and only left when he was 18. He was sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force, which Kelsey says is a place members are sent to be punished. He reported being forced to do hard manual labor, like scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush. He wasn’t allowed to read any books other than Scientology books, and he had never seen the Internet. (As always, the Church of Scientology denies and disputes all claims made on the A&E program.)
After Australian politician Nick Xenophon saw Seymour’s stories about the Church of Scientology, Xenophon wanted to help Seymour in exposing more abuse, but the Church of Scientology is famous for suing those who speak out. Xenophon came up with the idea of telling Seymour’s story in Parliament. Under parliamentary privilege, you can’t be sued for what’s said there.
According to Seymour, as a result of Xenophon’s speech, which was basically a laundry list of abuse that people had suffered, Australia got its Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to require Scientology to pay taxes. The Charities Commission requires that Scientology and all other churches publish their audited financial accounts, so that what was once secret is now in public view. And due to that kind of transparency, the Church of Scientology in Australia took a major financial hit. Between 2014 and 2015, their revenue dropped $20 million, to just over $10 million.
Check out how, despite controversy, Leah Remini soldiers on for second season of Scientology exposé:
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