Part 2 of a series

iHeart Produces Outrageous Bigotry—and They Won’t Talk About It

In blatant violation of its content policy, iHeart produces and gives its platform to Leah Remini’s vindictive hate podcast against Scientologists.

Broadcast and podcast platform iHeart doesn’t merely host a blatantly hate-filled and discriminatory antireligious podcast targeting Scientologists.

They create it.

And iHeart patently violates its own published, high-sounding content policy in order to do so.

iHeart produces “Scientology: Fair Game,” a bigoted assault on Scientologists and the Church of Scientology, hosted by the foul-mouthed, former TV sitcom actress Leah Remini and her partner, Mike Rinder, who, like her, was expelled from the religion.

Since July 2020, the platform has enabled Remini and Rinder to fill the podcast with antireligious content.

iHeart claims in its published content policy that it bans material that is “libelous, defamatory, false, obscene, violent, abusive, threatening, harassing or discriminatory.”

 iHeart claims in its published content policy:…“iHeartMedia does not permit hate content in any form, and will delete such content when we become aware of it.” How about when they produce it? 

Yet it allows Remini, in obscenity-laced and abusive language, to insult, defame and demean Scientologists, calling them—among other things—“liars,” “pussies,” “lunatics,” “extremists,” “abusive, horrible, hateful,” “pure evil” and “a bunch of fucking like body snatchers” who are “getting jerked off,” “not mentally sound,” “have no education,” “have zero compassion,” are “utterly brainwashed,” do “not enjoy their lives,” “can’t think for themselves,” “don’t give a shit,” and have “done nothing good.”

Remini further disgorges outlandish claims easily verified as false, such as her statements that Scientologists do not educate their children and refuse medical treatment—claims she knows, after 30-plus years in the religion, are bald-faced lies.

And iHeart lets Remini issue outright threats.

“I’m gonna say this to you Scientologists in good standing,” Remini raves. “You should really think about what the fuck you say. Because, you know, we—well I have information about you too, about your family, and, you know, I have information on all of you.”

That threat also got no action from iHeart’s on-the-ground producer, Joelle Monique Smith, who produces the Remini-Rinder podcast.

The following audio excerpts provide a very brief sense of the content iHeart produces, condones and hosts:

The character assassination against individual Scientologists aims at poisoning iHeart’s listeners’ minds against a segment of the population for no other reason than their religion.

“[K]now the difference between somebody having faith and Scientology,” Remini proclaims on the podcast. “They are two completely—they shouldn’t even be in the same fucking sentence.”

Remini further attempts to provoke hate against Scientologists’ religion with such incendiary terms as “pure fucking evil,” “poison,” a “fraud,” “criminal,” “terrorist,” and “a dangerous vile cult,” and with speech known to incite violent reaction, including her outrageous pronouncement that Scientologists believe people on “the other side…literally should die.”

But it doesn’t stop there. iHeart enables Mike Rinder to take the hate a step further, condoning his malicious rhetoric that Scientologists “are the people that will fly a plane into the World Trade Center, or blow up a bus in Tel Aviv or whatever with a bomb strapped to them.”

iHeart claims in its published content policy:Hate content is content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on, but not limited to, characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”

The policy continues, “iHeartMedia does not permit hate content in any form, and will delete such content when we become aware of it.”

How about when they produce it?

iHeart doesn’t want to talk about it.

 Ian Johnson, podcast audio editor, also with iHeart, picked up the phone, but would say only, “I would not feel comfortable about making a comment at this time.” 

When Freedom emailed and tried to telephone Wendy Goldberg, iHeartMedia’s executive vice president and chief communications officer, several times, she didn’t return the messages.

It’s the same story with iHeart producer Joelle Monique Smith, who also declined to return calls.

Ian Johnson, podcast audio editor, also with iHeart, picked up the phone, but would say only, “I would not feel comfortable about making a comment at this time.”

Remini, a Scientologist starting in her childhood, appeared in the TV sitcom The King of Queens until it ended in 2007. Her career then sputtered for six years until she rebranded herself as an aggressive, crass foe of the religion she once acclaimed, to raise her public profile. In this role, she has made millions and generated profits for media and platforms capitalizing on tabloid-style content to grab audiences and increase ad revenue.

On February 23, 2022, iHeartMedia announced soaring podcast ad profits, closing out the last year with a quarter billion dollars of ad revenue tied to its podcast business. According to a statement by CEO Bob Pittman, “podcasting revenues alone represented almost 10% of total company revenues.”

iHeart cooperates with Remini and Rinder, and not only enables their podcast but has its hands in their no-holds-barred assault on Scientologists.

If iHeart followed their own content policy, ostensibly crafted in deference to basic human respect and decency, they would halt production of this malignant podcast and remove it from their platform despite their bottom line.

That is, if they wish their published content policy to be more than empty, pointless words.

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