FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Paul Haggis Writes Open Letter to Leah Remini

The words of support appear in this week’s Hollywood Reporter magazine and comes via Europe, where Haggis has been working on a project for the past year and a half.

There are a number of interesting tidbits here, including a Church spokesman denying to THR that they recently registered the website domain whoisleahremini.com. Meanwhile, in his letter, Haggis states that Leah Remini was the only high-profile Church of Scientology member to remain in contact with him after he left the religion in 2009. She was also, he recalls, very friendly to him at a school function a few months after his exit.

Haggis argues that Remini deserves our full admiration for her courageous questioning of CoS higher-ups. The writer-director also shares an absolute howler of an anecdote:

When I was leaving [Scientology] and was visited by waves of angry friends and a phalange of top Scientology executives, trying to convince me to tear up my letter and resign quietly, I made a similar mistake by insisting they look into the charges of abuse detailed by the Tampa Bay Times. I was working on a film about Martin Luther King Jr. at that moment and made the polite suggestion that even great leaders like Dr. King were human and fallible.

Two of the senior church leaders leaped to their feet and shouted at me, “How dare you compare a great man like David Miscavige to Martin Luther King!” I ended the meeting at that point, thanking them for coming.

It’s a great letter. Haggis also touches on a Twitter exchange he had at one point earlier with Remini and reveals that they reconnected late last month via telephone. Read the full letter here.

The Church’s media relations department has posted an official response that dismisses Haggis’ THR letter as a desperate attempt to “grab headlines” and a “transparent plug for an upcoming film still lacking U.S. distribution.”

[Photo: s_bukley/Shutterstock.com]

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Nicole Remini Fact-Checks the Chicago Sun-Times
A Radio Call-In Interview for the Ages: Nicole Remini Sticks Up for Her ‘Brooklyn’ Younger Sister
Tony Ortega Posts Another Open Letter to Tom Cruise

Mediabistro Course

Middle Grade Novel Writing

Middle Grade Novel WritingStarting January 15, work with a literary agent to write your middle-grade novel! In this course, you'll learn how to develop strong characters, write compelling dialogue, master the art of revision, and market your work to publishing houses and agents. Register now!