The most tragic irony from the Emmy success of “The Handmaid’s Tale” may be the fact that Elisabeth Moss, who won the award for “Outstanding Lead Actress” for her role in the Hulu series, is a Scientologist. The show has been hailed by abortion activists as a tribute to “reproductive freedom,” as it warns against a misogynistic anti-freedom dystopia. But Moss’ religion is similarly oppressive, according to former Scientologists.
“Would be a travesty if Elisabeth Moss won an Emmy for Handmaid’s Tale. She’s a Scientologist…hypocritical of her to benefit from it,” Yashar Ali, a contributor for New York Magazine and HuffPost, tweeted on Sunday evening.
1. Would be a travesty if Elisabeth Moss won an Emmy for Handmaid's Tale. She's a Scientologist…hypocritical of her to benefit from it.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 17, 2017
“Handmaid’s Tale is about life in a totalitarian state where people, especially women, fear 1 wrong word/action could land them in trouble,” Ali noted. “That’s basically how Scientology operates…where one wrong word/action could lead your own family to rat you out and land you in trouble.”
Ali alleged that Scientology is not a religion but a “criminal money making enterprise” that “engages in false imprisonment, works to drain ‘parishioners’ of their money+ threatens them w/ release of their private info.”
Furthermore, “Scientology forced members in the Sea Org (like the priesthood) to have abortions.” Even so, Moss has actively promoted Scientology in public, defending the “religion” against criticism. She has also connected President Donald Trump to the oppressive “Handmaid’s Tale” government of Gilead.
“So Elisabeth gets to get awards/praise for starring in a film that mirrors the org she continues to help — that is hypocritical,” Ali declared.
16. So Elisabeth gets to get awards/praise for starring in a film that mirrors the org she continues to help – that is hypocritical.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 17, 2017
Scientology is a remarkably secretive cult, but people who have left the “religion” have launched stunning allegations against it, most notably in Leah Remini’s A&E show “Scientology and the Aftermath.”
Mike Rinder, a former international spokesman for the religion, alleged that the leaders of the organization routinely instigate violence against people for disagreeing with Scientology ideas. “It was like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in there,” Rinder said in one episode of Remini’s show. “I mean, it was insane. It was literally ‘I’m going to beat the crap out of you before I get the crap beat out of me.'”
In the early 2000s, David Miscavige (current head of the cult and former advisor to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard) established “the Hole” at Scientology headquarters in Hemet, Calif. Rinder described the building as a detention center for high-ranking members who displeased Miscavige.
“Honestly, the reasons for that could be anything from answering a question wrongly, not answering a question, a facial expression that was inappropriate, falling asleep after being up for a couple of days — I mean anything, you’re in the Hole,” Rinder said.
The former spokesman said he and as many as 100 other people were held in the Hole. The complex served them “slop,” had security bars on the windows, and even had guards to keep people from leaving. Members also reportedly beat each other up until they confessed their supposed crimes.
Former Scientologists on Remini’s show also described how the cult milks its parishioners. Miscavige’s organization publishes a course list, the “Bridge to Total Freedom,” which is constantly being revised.
Mary Kahn, a guest on Remini’s show, described believing in Scientology for 40 years and recalled completing all the courses required by the “Bridge.” She had to repeat the entire course list a second time, paying exorbitant fees to replace all the books. Kahn also recalled that a fellow Scientologist charged her credit card without her knowing because he needed to meet his financial goal.
Many former Scientologists described “security checks” or “sec checks,” which are administered to members suspected of breaking a church rule or harboring doubts about the cult. These “checks” involve harsh questioning and even physical abuse.
“Many times, an interrogator will try to get what they believe is the truth out, and the subject will finally just tell them what they want to hear,” Rinder explained.
Adding insult to injury, “sec check” sessions are paid for by the member being interrogated. Not only are Scientologists subjected to intense questioning for the slightest doubts, but they are forced to pay for such interrogations out of their own pockets. Incredible.
Furthermore, Remini has said that Scientologists’ belief in reincarnation leads the organization to place little significance on family relationships and marriages. Contributors recalled being separated from husbands or wives, and separation between parents and children, as punishment for doubting the cult’s tenets.
Upon joining the Sea Organization, members sign a billion-year contract. A member is expected to remain a lifetime member or face harsh punishment.
Perhaps the most concrete connection between Scientology and the dystopian government called “Gilead” in “The Handmaid’s Tale” is the report of forced abortions.
“If a woman got pregnant, she would instantly be scheduled to get an abortion,” Headley told Remini on her show last December. While no one in the organization held women down for the procedure, Headley said women were threatened with grave consequences if they refused.
“If she refused in any manner, she would be segregated, not allowed to work with her husband, put on security watch, put on heavy manual labor and interrogated as to why she wanted to leave,” the former Sea Organization member said.
According to Headley, Scientology leaders feared that pregnancies meant women were trying to leave the church, so they allegedly ordered abortions to prevent defections. She further added that she knew people who had “up to six” abortions.
Headley left the cult with her husband Marc in 2005, and they now have three sons who were all born after they departed Scientology.
The organization issued a statement dismissing Headley’s allegations. “They are part of a small group of obsessed individuals who make a living attacking their former religion.” The Scientology statement alleges that those in the Sea Organization “may marry” but “those desiring to have children” do so outside of the organization.
“The Church never advocates abortion to Church staff or to parishioners,” the Scientology organization told USA Today.
In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Gilead removes all sorts of rights from women, including the right to own property, to work, and to vote. The government segregates people into various castes, with some women systematically raped to have children. The government also has secret spies, known as “Eyes,” who report on doubters and can get people killed.
While Scientology is not a government like Gilead, it seems to foster a similar type of suspicion and fear among parishioners.
Abortion activists have warned that pro-life protesters and evangelicals secretly want to establish a Gilead-style regime. The terrifying truth is that some dystopian elements of Gilead exist in America today — in the very cult to which Elisabeth Moss, the show’s lead actress, belongs.