The Church of Scientology, which has been the focus of the sharply critical A&E docuseries “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” has plenty to say about the network’s cancellation of a planned series on the Ku Klux Klan.
As we reported yesterday, A&E pulled the plug on “Escaping the KKK” before it made it to the air, with the network announcing that it had discovered that producers of the project had made payments to some participants.
“On Wednesday, a lawyer for the Church of Scientology, Gary Soter, slammed A&E, saying that the network is hypocritical for canceling the KKK show, while continuing to tout the Scientology show,” Variety reports. The letter was published today by TMZ.
The letter states: “Church of Scientology understands that two on-air accusers/participants in Leah Remini’s docuseries, ‘Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath’ received substantial cash payments for their participation, in violation of the same standards.”
The lawyer’s letter is quoted by TMZ saying: “It is hypocritical for A&E to proclaim its intent to ‘expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms’ in cancelling the KKK show and at the same time promote Leah Remini’s program which promotes hatred that A&E claims that it wants to stop.”
TMZ adds: “The letter goes on to essentially accuse A&E of becoming partners in Remini’s show, giving them “free advertising and promotion for anti-Scientology books they have published.”
TMZ notes that an official at A&E said the two shows are different because Remini is an exec producer on her show and she’s “not the member of a hate group.”
Variety adds: “A&E declined to comment on whether participants in ‘Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath’ were paid — other than Remini, who is an executive producer on the docuseries — but an insider close to the network tells Variety that even if participants were paid, financial payments would be common practice for participants in a television docuseries.”
Variety’s source reportedly said A&E “explicitly” and “strictly” told producers of the Klan project that no members of the group were to be paid.