People features Scientologist who came out as gay, had her business ruined by the cult


I’ve been covering Scientology since I started Celebitchy in 2006. Back then, before Leah Remini got out and before Anonymous and Reddit sleuths so thoroughly exposed them, Scientology goons would harrass and ruin people, as seen in several high profile “suicides” of their critics. (They probably still do this, but not to the same extent.) Before we get into this, I would like to give props to an actor named Jason Beghe who spoke out against Scientology ten years ago when it was much more dangerous. (He’s on Chicago P.D. now!) The YouTube videos he recorded helped me understand how smart people can get hoodwinked and lose millions to cults. There’s an urge to dismiss former members as gullible, but that shows a lack of understanding of the psychological tactics they use to pull people in gradually until there’s no escape.

That brings us to the story that covers People this week. A woman named Michelle LeClair has a new book coming out called Perfectly Clear: Escaping Scientology and Fighting for the Woman I Love. It’s the story of how the cult humiliated her and ruined her multi-million dollar insurance business after she tried to come out as gay. She gave millions to the cult, Jason Beghe did too, but she was punished and made an outcast after she admitting that she was gay. She was coerced into marrying a man and living a life she considered a lie. When she finally had the courage to leave, Scientology used the court system to ruin her company. She was ultimately vindicated, but not until she lost everything. Here’s a segment from People’s story, with much more at the source:

LeClair, 45, tells PEOPLE in a new interview for this week’s issue that when she first tried to come out to the church, an official (known within the church as an auditor) gave her writings by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard that denounced homosexuality.

“L. Ron Hubbard considered homosexuals and other ‘perverts’ as ‘evil, untrustworthy, a criminal,’ “ LeClair writes in an exclusive excerpt featured in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “My hands trembled.”

The second time she tried to open up about her sexuality, she was punished, LeClair tells PEOPLE. “I had to go around to all the members inside the church, confess to them what I was thinking, what I was doing. People would look at me in the face and say, ‘You are disgusting.’ ”

“I think I was so confused within myself,” LeClair explains. “I was being taught how to push down those feelings.”

LeClair, who says she faced pressure from the church to marry, eventually wed struggling actor Sean Seward, with whom she had four children: Sage, 17, Savannah, 11, and twins Jadon and London, 9. But their marriage soon soured and later, when she confessed her past attraction to a high school girlfriend with whom she’d had a dalliance, Seward reported it to the church.

“I was ordered to walk the halls of the Scientology Celebrity Centre [in Hollywood] asking random members to read and sign my confession,” LeClair recalls. “I needed 25 signatures to be allowed to rejoin the church. I was so mortified that, after 10 or 15 requests, I ran to the bathroom and sobbed.”

Meanwhile, LeClair’s career was taking off as she founded one of the nation’s most successful woman-owned life insurance firms. LeClair says she donated an estimated $5 million to the church, and after she threatened to withhold further donations, officials finally agreed to let her divorce Seward.

She fell in love with a woman, her current partner, and decided to leave Scientology
“From the moment I decided to publicly leave, my life unspooled as if I were in a suspense novel,” LeClair writes. “Strange cars idled at the curb by my home at all hours of the day. Men wearing dark glasses followed me to the grocery store, my kids’ school. My computer and my phone [were] hacked.”

In her book, LeClair also alleges that the church instigated the state of California to charge her with running a Ponzi scheme, which ultimately led her to shut down her life insurance business and return $1.3 million to more than 40 alleged victims.

LeClair’s legal battle stretched on for six emotionally draining years and left her millions of dollars in debt. But on March 30, 2017, the criminal charges were dropped. “Truth prevailed,” LeClair says. “I was innocent.”

[From People]

This is not surprising in the least. We’ve heard so many stories like this it’s chilling. Scientology also commits human rights abuses by using slave labor and low paid labor, and Leah Remini has confirmed that they commit child abuse and neglect in their childcare facilities. Just among other books about the cult there’s Leah’s book Troublemaker along with Going Clear, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, Beyond Belief, Blown for Good, Ruthless and I’m sure I’m forgetting several.

It’s interesting that People just ran a cover about Tom Cruise in July, meant to coincide with MI5, that was generally positive about him. I think that Cruise and his team are going to limit access for People, but except from Top Gun, which will sell itself, he doesn’t have any projects in the pipeline. It’s safe to criticize Scientology again and this will move copies. Hopefully it will put another face on the people who are abused by this cult. LeClair was a highly successful self made businesswoman, she wasn’t some rube. Even if she was, no one deserves to be treated like this.

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32 Responses to “People features Scientologist who came out as gay, had her business ruined by the cult”

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  1. Hunter says:

    I saw the header pic and thought, ” Wow, Paris Hilton looks great these days!” Derp.

  2. Queenb says:

    Everyone working in media who interviews Cruise or Travolta or Elizabeth Moss and doesnt ask them about Scientology is complicit.

    • Renee says:

      Don’t forget Laura Prepon, Giovanni Ribisi, etc…

      I get tired of Elizabeth Moss getting a pass on this.

  3. Tania says:

    As much as I loved the Mission Impossible movies and especially Ving Rhames, , I just couldn’t bring myself to see the latest installment because of Cruise. Each time I pulled up the movie app and saw it, I would be tempted. Instead I saw Crazy Rich Asians twice and saw Searching this weekend. What a great movie Searching was. I highly recommend it.

    This woman is very brave and I believe her. May Tom’s reign soon end and this dangerous cult loses access to his millions.

  4. Mia4s says:

    Zero percent surprised. Oh hai John Travolta, any comment? 🤔

    I heard the Mission Impossible movie is really good….and it will not get one cent from because part of that money goes to things like this. Oh and does anyone still think Xenu didn’t make sure Cruise shunned all contact with his “daughter”? Too far fetched? Hmmmm?

  5. Gaby says:

    After so many years of people coming out and speaking against Scientology, I really believe it’s time for the public to demand more of those celebrities involved in it. If we can blame people for willingly associating themselves with known predators, we must do the same with Scientologists.
    It’s not about freedom of choice or religion when is publicly known that they destroy people’s lives, are homophobic, criminals, coercive, abusive, have actual human slaves, promote abortions, etc. We have the power to stop them. Tom Cruise openly abandoned his child, David Mischavige missing wife, John Travolta sexually harassed men, there are so many things wrong here, they should be held accountable.

    • aenflex says:

      These things you’ve listed happen in many religions. Not that I disagree with you. Scientology is no different that many other religions in their infacny stages. Why isn’t anyone talking about the hundreds of children killed at Catholic homes, thousands molested by priests while other clergy remain silent and complicit? Not to mention the atrocities committed by men, (and some women), in fundamentalist sects… and so on.

      • holly hobby says:

        Well the other religions do not stalk or harrass their members. Nor do they use the law to ruin their lives. You can also freely leave the other religions without being cut off from family. So that’s why it’s different. Please read one of those books that’s recommended in the article.

  6. Jessica says:

    I’m kind of surprised People is running the story.

  7. Veronica S. says:

    Imagine the courage it takes to walk away from something like that, knowing full well you were bringing the wrath of the church down on you. Make the best of your freedom, lady. You hard-earned it.

  8. P says:

    Its a dangerous cult, and celebrities get a pass from the press, just because it is a “religious matter”, and all those people ruined by it are just liars.

  9. MCV says:

    I feel bad for anyone that ends up with them, especially the ones born into it.

  10. Meg says:

    This woman is a scammer. Google her under the name Michelle Seward. That’s the name she has been accused of fraud. She had to reimburse all the money she took from poor people. People Mag fell for a fraud. Now she tries to scam other people with her book.

    • antipodean says:

      Helloooo, Scienobot! You folks are going to be working hard in the next few weeks to try and discredit this lady”s account of your abuses! WE SEE YOU! Religion….my big fat right toe!

    • Cay says:

      When I google her, it says she was cleared of the ponzi scheme charges.

    • kristen says:

      Whatever “Meg”

    • Gisele says:

      She was cleared of all the charges, but nice try. Scientology Fair Game methods, which demand the ruination of critics by any means necessary, is why she was accused in the first place. Scientology is a corrupt, abusive cult.

    • LeiDub says:

      HAHAHAHA, OMG I can’t believe a scientology freak actually had the nerve to post here. That is too funny. I thought you guys weren’t allowed to look at the internet? Meg, lol.

    • holly hobby says:

      Hi $ci $lave. I do feel sorry for you. Please research the corrupt cult on the internet. Say hi to Miss. Cabbage for me. BTW, where’s Shelly?

  11. Sparkly says:

    These people are so crazy. And obvious.

    LOVE the title of her book!

  12. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    Another significant book exposing Scientology is Bare Faced Messiah. And Time did the big exposé decades before Anonymous and Reddit.

  13. adastraperaspera says:

    Tax churches. Miscavige has billions he uses to sue people and publish lies. He’s paid gazillions for google search placement; to the extent where searching for information about what’s really going on with Scientology just brings up links to pro-Scientology screeds. It’s a racket.

    • Snap Happy says:

      Scientology got their church status by blackmailing the government with tons of lawsuits. It’s a cult created by a pathological liar.

  14. Caitlin Bruce says:

    It’s so sad that Tom Cruise has had to abandon his daughter for 5 and a half years and still hasn’t left this evil cult. You can say all you want about Tom but I really do feel like he loved katie and was a good parent to Suri (unrelated to Scientology) before their spilt. I always wonder do you think katie is happy about it as their is no danger in Suri turning against her or is she dissapointed? I don’t think Katie ever doubted his love for Suri and I think she may have even felt that the divorce and her sole custody would make him take a second thought. Katie’s sources told gossip cop a few years ago that Tom hadn’t seen Suri since 2013, is that still true. How does he get away with not being asked about this??

    • Snap Happy says:

      I think she is glad he is away from both of them.

      • Caitlin Bruce says:

        I thought that at first too but then why get her PR to confirm to gossip cop he hasn’t seen Suri since 2013? Toms PR people would have seen that and Katie knows that. She knows Tom doesn’t want to be seen as a deadbeat dad like how ken father that’s why he sued Bauer Media in the first place

  15. mannori says:

    yay! if People Magazine from all media is running this story, and they have a long history of uhm..looking the other way when it comes to powerful and wealthy celebrities and groups, then it means the cult has started losing its power to control and manipulate the mainstream media, which for many many years did nothing and left it to documentaries and brave ex scientologist to fight alone

  16. Cay says:

    I’ve been speaking out against Scientology since the early 90′s when I had a personal connection to a young man “escaping” the cult. It was a terrifying time not knowing when or where Scientologists would show up to try to make him return to the “church.”

    As for her story about being gay in Scientology, I’m not going to out anyone on this site. However, if your family has a hugely lucrative business which they claim is successful because of the “Administrative Technology” invented by L. Ron Hubbard and they donate $20+ million to the cult/organization, they will gladly turn a blind eye to a lifestyle the parents’ son(s) are living. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t rich or famous enough.

  17. PerfectlyObsessed says:

    I keep seeing commercials for The Scientology Network & I’ve even heard a few radio commercials for it. The radio station that was playing the commercials had tons of calls from people complaining that they did not want to hear these Scientology commercials. Hopefully the bad press surrounding them will prevail over this obvious attempt to normalize their cult.