When it comes to Scientology and the gays, RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage said "oh no she betta don't."
The Emmy-winning TV personality revealed that her longtime bestie (and former Scientology member) Leah Remini once got her involved with the controversial religion, though she says she quit paying for the church's expensive courses after learning more about their beliefs.
"They start out and they get you in good with some really important courses that can help your way of life," Visage told comedian Matt Rogers and Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang on Wednesday's episode of the Las Culturistas podcast, admitting that the self-help vibe of the classes appealed to her as a single parent seeking to better the lives of her children.
"So, I go in to take these courses, and then I did the $50 ones and then the $100 ones. Mind you, I was working on the radio, so I didn't have a lot of salary," she said. "It came to, like, the $1,800 one. I said I didn't have the money to do it, and they said, 'Well, you can borrow a friend's credit card,' and I was like, 'What kind of friends you think I got?'"
She claimed that the church then told her that celebrity Scientologist Jenna Elfman borrowed a friend's credit card to pay her way through the courses, so Visage contemplated it. (Representatives for Elfman did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.)
"I was like, 'I can't afford it,' and Leah's mother stepped in to try to make it affordable," Visage continued, adding that part of her extended coursework involved gauging her "tone" on a device called an E-meter, which she said the religion uses to measure the effectiveness of its teachings.
"It was time to make a commitment or get out," Visage said. "I was like, something doesn't feel right."
The breaking point, for her, occurred when she studied the "tone scale," which "tells you where people are rated in life," Visage added. "Murderers and pedophiles are down at 100 and a deity, a god, is at 0. I started going through the scale, and literally at 90-something was pedophiles, murderers, and homosexuals. So I took the book, and I shut it."
After a teacher asked her about her behavior, Visage claims to have confronted them about what she saw on the scale. "I said, 'I quit,' and I walked out," Visage said. "Girl, bye."
Visage went on to praise Remini as "a beast" for ultimately leaving Scientology on her own terms and dedicating the latter part of her career to exposing alleged wrongdoings she said she observed inside the church.
Remini and Mike Rinder — a former high-ranking official from the church — eventually launched an exposé-style documentary series on A&E titled Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which won an Emmy for its intimate portrayal of life inside the religion, as spoken by former parishioners. She and Rinder still host their Fair Game podcast, which continues to dissect various aspects of Scientology.
A representative for Scientology did not respond to EW's request for comment, though the church has regularly denied many allegations Remini made against it in various statements over the years, labeling her comments "vitriolic religious hate and bigotry" and pointing readers to viewers to www.scientology.tv for more information.
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