LOS ANGELES — Actor Leah Remini filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, alleging that she has been threatened, harassed and stalked for the past decade.
The "King of Queens" star says she has been the victim of "intentional malicious and fraudulent rumors via hundreds of Scientology-controlled and -coordinated social media accounts that exist solely to intimidate and spread misinformation," according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Remini has been an outspoken critic of the controversial church since she left it in 2013. She co-created and hosted an anti-Scientology documentary series, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” that aired from 2016 to 2019 on A&E and won two Emmy awards.
"For 17 years, Scientology and David Miscavige have subjected me to what I believe to be psychological torture, defamation, surveillance, harassment, and intimidation, significantly impacting my life and career," Remini said in a statement Wednesday.
A rep for Miscavige did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.
The Church of Scientology in a statement said the lawsuit was "ludicrous and the allegations pure lunacy."
"The Church is not intimidated by Remini’s latest act of blatant harassment and attempt to prevent truthful free speech," it said in the statement. "If Remini does not believe in free speech, then she should consider emigrating to Russia."
Remini said that Miscavige and other defendants began the attacks more than a decade ago, alleging that current and former Scientologists were enlisted to record defamatory video statements against her.
The claims include that she "was abusive to her mother and daughter, and that she is a racist," the suit says. Her now-deceased father, George Remini, and his wife were allegedly some of the people the church used to attack her, according to the lawsuit, which linked to a video.
In 2015, Remini said she was forced to hire bodyguards for the first time in her life because she feared for her physical safety. She says she hired the guards after learning private investigators allegedly working for the church were following her during the New York promotion of her book, "Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood."
The lawsuit details other alleged attacks. In 2018, the church organized a meeting with celebrity Scientologists and drilled attendees on "how to attack Ms. Remini’s credibility, based on lies, using talking points that Scientology wrote," according to the lawsuit.
Remini also accused the church of enlisting a man with "a history of mental illness and a violent criminal record" to stalk and surveil her at her Los Angeles home, the suit says.
Remini and her neighbors allegedly saw the man in a parked white vehicle outside Remini's home in July and August 2020. The lawsuit accuses the man of ramming his vehicle into the security gates of her community and asking residents where she lived. The man was arrested and released only to be arrested a second time after he falsely claimed that Remini was holding hostages at her home, according to the lawsuit.
The attacks have not stopped, according to the suit, which says that the actor's family and friends have also been subjected to the harassment.
She said in her statement that she does not believe she is the religion’s first victim, "but I intend to be the last."
"While advocating for victims of Scientology has significantly impacted my life and career, Scientology’s final objective of silencing me has not been achieved," Remini said.
"While this lawsuit is about what Scientology has done to me, I am one of thousands of targets of Scientology over the past seven decades. People who share what they’ve experienced in Scientology, and those who tell their stories and advocate for them, should be free to do so without fearing retaliation from a cult with tax exemption and billions in assets," she said.
Remini is seeking compensatory and punitive damages "for the enormous economic and psychological harm" that the church's alleged attacks have caused, and hopes to deter the church from "continuing their unlawful campaign of harassment and intimidation."