Elisabeth Moss Defends Scientology After Fan Compares It To ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's Tale

by Grazia |
Published on

As her star has risen, with The Handmaid’s Tale and Top Of The Lake: China Girl on everyone’s summer must-see lists, Elisabeth Moss’s personal life has become a source of fascination. And particular attention has been paid to the fact that she was raised, and still

is, a practising Scientologist.

Perhaps aware of how the religion has overshadowed fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise’s career, Elisabeth, 35, has remained steadfastly silent about her faith (last year, she told a reporter, ‘I get the fascination, but you have a right to your privacy’). But, while rapturously received by critics, her star turn in The Handmaid’s Tale has placed Elisabeth under even more scrutiny.

Some fans have struggled to reconcile Elisabeth starring in a feminist show about the subjugation of women while belonging to a religion accused of sexual assault and forced abortions. Many have drawn unfavourable comparisons between Scientology and Gilead, the dystopian regime depicted in the show, with one blog asking, ‘Isn’t it relevant that the

star of The Handmaid’s Tale belongs to a secretive, allegedly oppressive religion?’

And last week a comment on Elisabeth’s Instagram nally forced her to publicly defend her beliefs. A fan wrote of The Handmaid’s Tale: ‘Love this adaptation so much. Question though, does it make you think twice about Scientology? Gilead and Scientology both believe that all outside sources (aka news) are wrong and evil... it’s just very interesting.’

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In a rare break from protocol, Elisabeth replied, saying, ‘That’s actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably. And so Gilead hit me on a very personal level. Thanks for the interesting question!’

Friends of the actor were surprised by her outburst. ‘Elisabeth has been advised over the years to keep quiet about her devotion to Scientology because of the seemingly endless negativity and scrutiny the church faces,’ said a source.

‘But as her pro le has risen she’s found it difficult holding her tongue when challenged. She truly believes that the religion has been unfairly maligned in the media, and increasingly feels as though it’s her duty not only to the church but also to her parents, who raised her as a Scientologist, to correct misconceptions.

‘At the moment she’s trying to strike a balance between guarding her private life and standing up for what she believes in. It’s a dif cult line for her to walk.’

Said to be adding to the tension is the fact that the religion’s most outspoken detractor, actor and former Scientologist Leah Remini, 47, name-checked Elisabeth in an interview earlier this month. Discussing the concept of ‘antisocial personalities’ (a term used in Scientology to describe the religion’s enemies, it is often applied to defectors, who believers are forbidden from communicating with), Leah said, ‘Elisabeth Moss believes that she can’t talk to me. She believes I’m an antisocial personality – because I’ve spoken out against Scientology.’

According to the insider, Leah’s

words have encouraged other Hollywood heavyweights to weigh in on Elisabeth’s religion. ‘She is increasingly tired of friends in the entertainment industry who have begun “reaching out” to her because they’re worried about her devotion to Scientology. Leah’s comments have only made the situation worse,’ said the source.

‘She doesn’t feel she needs “saving” from Scientology and the last thing she wants is to be confronted by Leah and called out over her private beliefs.’

Indeed, when the pair recently attended the Television Critics Awards, Elisabeth – who had been nominated for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale – is reported to have walked out of the room when Leah accepted the award for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming for her show, Scientology And The Aftermath. But what will happen at the Emmy Awards on 17 September – when Leah’s show is nominated in

the Informational Series category and Elisabeth is up for Outstanding Lead Actress, again for The Handmaid’s Tale?

‘During awards season it will be impossible to avoid each other’, said the source. ‘Things could get awkward.’

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