Part of Leah Remini’s Scientology Harassment Suit Dismissed Over Free Speech Defense

The Church of Scientology is celebrating a slight victory regarding Leah Remini’s harassment lawsuit after a Los Angeles judge deemed some of the comments in question as protected speech.

In Superior Court Judge Randolph Hammock’s split March 12 ruling, obtained by TheWrap, the judge both granted in part and denied in part the Church’s motion to strike her first amended complaint.

Specifically, the stricken allegations “include that Plaintiff was a ‘bigot,’ ‘racist,’ ‘abusive,’ ‘pro-rape’ and ‘promoted hate speech,’ among others,” since Remini did not meet her burden of proof. The court even characterized doctored photographs as “highly offensive and inappropriate” parody.

“In other words, this is not a private dispute. When viewed in context, the First Amended Complaint plainly demonstrates that the alleged statements Defendants made about Plaintiff online implicate a broader public dispute over Plaintiff’s relationship with Scientology,” the ruling stated. “And Defendants’ online attack bears more than just a ‘functional relationship to that public interest.’ The online posts are themselves a part of the public’s interest in Plaintiff and Scientology.”

“Plaintiff herself is a former Scientologist who now actively advocates against the Church often publicly through various mediums. This can hardly be an attempt to ‘earnestly’ avoid public controversy,” the judge continued. “To summarize, the Church is a high-profile entity speaking on a high-profile figure. Plaintiff is a high-profile figure speaking on a high-profile entity. Plaintiff’s speech is at times responsive to, or provoked by, Defendants, and vice versa.”

“By engaging in the back-and-forth, purposely public battle against each other, the parties have made the issue one of significant public interest,” the ruling added. “Therefore, Plaintiff’s allegations concerning Defendants’ online statements about her ‘arise from’ Defendants’ protected activities. Defendants have therefore met their burden for the speech implicated in these portions of the First Amended Complaint.”

Still, portions of Remini’s allegations of tortious interference, surveillance and harassment were not stricken, as she proved the “requisite minimal merit” in her claim. Additionally, other statements against Remini were dismissed due to falling outside the statute of limitations for defamation.

“This is a resounding victory for the Church and free speech — Remini’s complaint was gutted. The Church is entitled to its attorney fees and will be seeking them,” the Church said in a statement to TheWrap.

The “King of Queens” actress filed her initial lawsuit in August 2023. Lawyers for the Church of Scientology then filed a motion to strike Remini’s lawsuit under California’s anti-SLAPP laws.

Following Tuesday’s ruling, which echoed January and February’s tentative rulings, Remini issued her own public statement on X (formerly Twitter).

While no trial date was listed on this week’s documents, the case is still expected to go forward in October 2025.

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