Elisabeth Moss Addresses Scientology in Unusually Candid Interview, from Leah Remini to Emmys Speech

The "Handmaid's Tale" star and producer was rumored to have walked out on ex-Scientologist Remini's acceptance speech at an awards show.
Elisabeth Moss arrives at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Elisabeth Moss
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Actor, director, and producer Elisabeth Moss got atypically honest about her ties to the Church of Scientology in a recent profile for The New Yorker. That includes rumors about the “Mad Men” star and “Handmaid’s Tale” Emmy winner walking out on ex-Scientologist Leah Remini’s acceptance speech at the 2018 Television Critics Awards for her religion-dissenting program, “Scientology and the Aftermath.”

“I went to the bathroom,” Moss clarified over her absence. “I wish it was more exciting than that.”

“Scientology and the Aftermath” creator Remini claimed that the Church forbids Moss to speak to her because Remini is an “anti-social personality,” as The New Yorker reported.

Moss responded, “I have never been approached by her. I have never received any request to talk to her. So there hasn’t been an opportunity for her to say that. I don’t know her that well, so it’s not like we were friends.”

There was also another Scientology rumor she addressed in the piece. In 2017, when Moss won her Emmy for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” she thanked her mother onstage for teaching her “that you can be kind and a fucking badass.” The Hollywood Reporter published an article following the awards ceremony in which a former Scientologist claimed that swearing is how church members “down the tone scale” to average people. Scientology whistle-blower Tony Ortega added that cursing is “almost a sacrament” in the religion with ties to faith founder L. Ron Hubbard’s career in the Navy. The Church allegedly maintained that “no such teaching exists.”

When asked about the moment, Moss told The New Yorker that it “pissed” her off. “That was a really, really big moment for me, and it was a big moment for my mom and me,” Moss said. “My mom, who has supported me through the years and been such an incredible mother to both me and my brother. And to tell a lie like that, about that — I didn’t deserve that, and it was wrong.”

As Moss’ career continued post-Emmys win with turns in films “Us,” “Shirley,” and “Invisible Man,” she continues to value privacy, especially when it comes to her religious ties.

“I don’t want people to be distracted by something when they’re watching me,” Moss shared. “I want them to be seeing the character. I feel like, when actors reveal too much of their lives, I’m sometimes watching something and I’m going, Oh, I know that she just broke up with that person, or, I know that she loves to do hot yoga, or whatever it is.”

And Scientology is “not really a closed-off religion,” Moss added. “It’s a place that is very open to, like, welcoming in somebody who wants to learn more about it. I think that’s the thing that is probably the most misunderstood.”

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