She made a name for herself as a comedic actress, but working for Leah Remini was no laughing matter as the caustic performer went through some 15 personal assistants in as many years.
At the time they were hired, several of the assistants were friends with their boss, some were new acquaintances, others were family, and all were Scientologists. Remini, then a Scientologist, reportedly would only hire her coreligionists as she knew they were ethical and could be trusted.
Firsthand statements from a number of the assistants, eyewitness accounts and Remini’s own admissions combine to paint a vivid picture of a woman who tore through—and into—her staff with shocking malice.
With two exceptions, the assistants, all women, did not speak out at the time about Remini’s abusive treatment for fear of her retaliation. With good reason: They say they know firsthand how vindictive Remini can be.
Several, however, stepped forward after Remini began publicly attacking her former religion, outraged by Remini’s hypocrisy when she publicly and falsely portrayed them, as Scientologists, in her own image as abusers and liars.
In a not-so-veiled attempt to keep a gag on Scientologists, and particularly those who had been close to her, Remini broadcast a message in a July 2020 podcast: “I’m gonna say this to you Scientologists in good standing,” she warned. “You should really think about what the f—k you say. Because, you know—I have information about you too, about your family and, you know, I have information on all of you.”
“I have information on all of you.”
Remini’s blackmail threat was not surprising. The damning record reveals an enduring pattern of abuse of those in her vicinity. The women who were Remini’s personal assistants report they were screamed at, cursed at and ridiculed to their faces. Beyond variously being called “f—king idiot,” “stupid f—king c—t,” “asshole,” “douche bag” and more, the abuses include fat-shaming, ridicule of physical ailments, and physical sexual abuse, squeezing breasts and buttocks. When Remini was mad, one former assistant said, Remini threatened her with a “punch in the vagina.”
Working for Leah Remini was “one of the most psychologically damaging experiences I have ever had,” one woman said of her time as Remini’s assistant, adding that it had an impact on her health. She explained that before working for Remini, she was rarely ill, but that while working for her, “I was sick every month. And any medical doctor will tell you that when you have stress in your life, your immune system actually becomes lowered, so you’re more susceptible,” she said. “And for me that environment was incredibly stressful and I was sick constantly.”
The woman said that when she stopped working for Leah, her health issues disappeared.
One assistant’s husband, Eric, went on record with an account of how Remini chewed out his wife, Remini’s longtime assistant, on the day his wife’s mother died; worse, his grieving wife was in the final term of her pregnancy. “It’s abhorrent,” he said of Remini’s mistreatment of his wife, particularly during her pregnancy. “It’s the only word for it.”
Another assistant’s husband, Clark, recounted that his wife would come home in tears after a day of working for Remini. “It got to a point where it was happening sometimes several times a week,” he said, “and then me having to spend the night talking her off the ledge, so to speak, because she felt like she was a terrible person or felt just smashed by this person [Remini]. You know, it takes its toll.
“That abuse spreads because it didn’t just affect my wife. I had to deal with it. And I’m sure there’s thousands of people out there that have to deal with someone that’s being abused and not knowing what to do.”
When Remini’s abuse was inflicted in public, it added an extra sting to the assault. One woman felt it when Remini caused a scene in New York’s LaGuardia Airport, lashing out at her. Remini herself later wrote of the incident, describing what she did to her assistant as “really nasty and demeaning.”
Remini’s father recalled going out once with his daughter and being taken aback at the treatment she dished out.
“I was in a limousine with Leah and she was talking to her assistant,” George Remini said in a video on YouTube. “She says [to the assistant], ‘If you don’t get my boots, I’m going to kick your ass.’
“How do you talk to people like that? You know, the girl is your assistant. She’s not your relative. But even relatives, she talks to them like that. But you know, you don’t say that to people.”
According to a member of Remini’s entourage, Remini had a new assistant every two weeks for a stretch of 2012. “Not everyone can work for that crazy bitch,” they remarked.
Some assistants through the years recounted how they were fired in a maelstrom of Remini’s temper.
One was terminated after just three weeks of employment, when she purchased the wrong color of tissues. She well recalled Remini’s words to her, because Remini yelled them twice: “Get out of my house, you f—king c—t.”
Another says she was thrown out of the house for daring to question Remini, who screamed and lunged in what the former assistant described as a vein-popping, ear-splitting outburst: “Get out! Right now! Get your shit and get out!” That assistant said the incident was so terrifying she dared not return.
Remini also fired her longest-serving assistant, who was additionally her long-standing production partner and friend, in what family friends recounted as Remini’s most shameless display of spite. Rather than sit and talk with the woman, who had a one-year-old son, Remini terminated her employment by email three weeks before Christmas and effectively cancelled her family’s health insurance. The incident was reportedly prompted by a disapproving gesture about a catered meal Remini served up for Thanksgiving dinner. Remini never spoke to the woman again.
Leah’s antisocial tendencies toward personal assistants were not limited to those who were friends or new acquaintances. Her older sister, Nicole, at one point detailed how Leah fired her as an assistant in a fiery blowup that included a profane rant in front of customers at the family-owned restaurant. According to family and friends, Leah mistreated her younger half-sister, Shannon , as an assistant, driving her to tears and firing her before moving on.
Other assistants who avoided being fired quit on their own when they apparently couldn’t take Leah’s ill-treatment any longer.
One recalled being traumatized by Remini when, on more than one occasion, the actress thought people were looking in on her from outside the house.
“She would rush around the house, closing all the shades,” the woman said. “As her personal assistant, I would take the brunt of her spontaneous and explosive meltdowns, as if I was the reason that she was being targeted by unknown ‘stalkers.’”
After that assistant quit, she said, Remini pleaded with her to return. The woman relented, against her better judgment, as Leah led her into “a false sense of security” and a feeling that “perhaps her [Leah’s] tyrannical outbursts would be better controlled.
“I was absolutely incorrect and I finally quit again,” she said, adding that she then had terror stomach for months for fear of some type of retribution.
“It was a completely toxic environment,” said another. “Leah attempts to break you down and makes you feel like you’re worthless. She smashes you and then just when you stand up and think ‘I’m not going to put up with this anymore,’ here come the flowers, come the love notes.
“There were times I began to feel I deserved the abuse,” she said. “But I finally realized what was going on. It hit me. She was the problem. Not me.”
Even Remini, in moments of fallout, acknowledged the impact of her tirades. After kicking one assistant out of her house in a storm of profanity, Remini emailed the woman: “I’m sure you think of me and think ‘f—king c—t ass.” It came with an apology, but according to accounts, such was the cycle that repeated itself over and over as Remini treated assistants like dirt.
One of the beleaguered women summed up the experience of being Leah Remini’s personal assistant:
“This person [Leah] is not who she appears to be at all,” she said. “She’s incredibly abusive to those who are around her. She is incredibly selfish. The only person Leah actually, truly cares about is Leah.”