president and CEO, A&E Networks
Hate and bigotry pay, as long as you can get away with it.
So goes the unwritten motto of A&E Networks President CEO Nancy Dubuc.
Prior to season one of the Leah Remini Aftermath program, Remini’s vengeful anti-Scientology media appearances generated a spate of threats and violence against the Church and the religion’s ecclesiastical leader, resulting in felony convictions against three hate criminals.
That is why Church of Scientology International spokesperson Karin Pouw forewarned A&E Networks President and CEO Nancy Dubuc before the Aftermath first season began, in a letter citing specifics and appealing to her sense of responsibility for what she broadcasts. The letter was sent to Dubuc after executives under her had repeatedly failed to respond.
Nancy Dubuc never answered. The buck, clearly, does not stop with her, because hate and violence pay. Emboldened with the prospect that Remini’s show might help stem A&E’s hemorrhaging financials, they sought to boost “response” and “ratings” by upping the scurrilous and salacious content, the truth be damned.
As predicted, incidents of harassment, bomb scares, assassination threats and other promises of violence, as well as perpetrated acts of vandalism and violence, spiked against Churches of Scientology, the religion’s leader and members when Aftermath season one began in November 2016.
More than 400 incidents were recorded during season one. In the months following the program, that number increased to 500 when the re-airings of the show occured. Police identified 200 credible threats of violence and harm against the Church and its members, and some 50 credible threats of assassination against the religion’s ecclesiastical leader, David Miscavige. A fire was set in one church. The property of another was vandalized. A drive-by shooting occurred at yet another. And so it went. Many of the threats made on social media or phone calls cited Leah Remini, her show, or her co-host Mike Rinder.
The Church has worked closely with the Los Angeles Police Department and other police agencies across the country to investigate the threats, with a number of investigations currently ongoing. Security at Church facilities has increased significantly.
A Church spokesperson offered Nancy Dubuc verified police reports, and reminded her that the Church has been contacting the network and production companies for months—not asking them to stop the programs, but simply to meet with them to offer evidence that they are giving air time to proven liars and bigots with obvious agendas of hate and bigotry.
“A&E has involved itself in a religious dispute, is paying Leah Remini and Mike Rinder to spew their inflammatory, anti-religious rhetoric and is providing a platform for bigotry,” one letter stated, reminding Dubuc that Remini’s “false and inflammatory rhetoric” could inspire deadly violence.
“This is not journalism; this is religious bigotry commissioned, condoned, advertised and broadcast by A&E on your watch as AETN’s Chief Executive Officer,” read one of the letters.
Still, no response.
Instead of addressing the issue, A&E’s publicity crew filmed Remini mocking a letter of complaint by the Church over religious bias and threats.
Yet in a final coup for hate and bigotry, Dubuc and her A&E executive team subsequently let Remini put a convicted felon, Brandon Reisdorf, on a pedestal on her show. Reisdorf had been convicted of a felony for throwing a hammer through a window of the Scientology U.S. Headquarters in Los Angeles, and threatened to kill the religion’s leader—incited by Remini’s anti-Scientology hate speech. Authorities classified Reisdorf as dangerously psychotic and issued a protective order barring him from proximity with any Scientology church. Yet A&E allowed Remini to feature Reisdorf on her Aftermath show to laud his actions.
Not long into season one, Dubuc was responsible for, and initially defended, the high-profile debacle in December 2016 over the network’s hate-baiting and falsified “docu-series” on the Ku Klux Klan that they then cancelled. The show had been exposed for paying sources—klansmen no less, scripting dialogue—including bigoted statements for dramatic effect—and staging and fabricating incidents, such as a “cross burning” to which the production crew was to have been portrayed as having gained special access.
After the KKK issues surfaced, legal counsel for the Church, in a letter to Dubuc, made clear that Remini’s so-called docu-series was also filled with the same problems yet had been allowed to go on the air: sources were paid and episodes contained factual distortions, unsubstantiated claims and manufactured stories—all of which encouraged hatred and religious intolerance toward the Church, its leadership and its members.
For months the Church or its counsel also wrote repeatedly to A&E, including Nancy Dubuc, to document the lies and the entirely discreditable status of sources on the Remini episodes—and to find out who vets the sources on their show.
Dubuc and her A&E people just kept rebuffing the Church and the issues. That is, until they were caught off guard when Leah Remini went on The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable TV show in June 2017. It was then Remini let the bombshell out of the bag—not once, but twice—that not a single source on her show is vetted, because they are all “[her] people” and she simply takes their word for it on whatever they want to say.
A Church representative wrote Nancy Dubuc concerning the non-vetted sources on the show and asked who, if anyone, is vetting the show’s guests.
No answer from Ms. Dubuc.