‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Elisabeth Moss Responds to Comparisons of Scientology and the Gilead

Elisabeth Moss has gotten a lot of praise for her portrayal of June on The Handmaid’s Tale. However, some fans who know she is a Scientologist in real life has criticized her and drew comparisons to the real organization to the Gilead. Here are some reasons why and what Moss had to say in response.

Scientology has been accused of severing family ties of members

In The Handmaid’s Tale, there is an authoritarian regime called the Gilead. Under it, women are raped in order to have children for privileged couples who can’t have them. After they give birth they are typically separated from their babies and moved to another family for it to happen all over again. Religion also plays a huge part in the Gilead.

Scientology has been accused of family separation in the past. In an episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, former Scientology spokesperson Mike Rinder talked about the Sea Organization’s attitude toward family.

Family, in the Sea Org, is something that is given lip service but isn’t considered to be important,” he said according to The Hollywood Reporter. “If you are married, you’re unmarried, if you have kids, if you don’t, if your parents are dead, if they’re alive, all of that is completely irrelevant to are you doing your job in the Sea Organization? Are you doing the greatest good and absolutely nothing else?”

A former Scientologist named Mimi Faust talked about getting kicked out of a dorm she was living in with her mother for refusing to sign a billion-year contract with the Sea Org. Her mother stayed in the organization.

In another episode, a former member named Claire Headley claimed that Sea Org members were encouraged to not have children and if they were pregnant, they could be scheduled to have an abortion, according to USA Today. If someone refused the abortion, Headley claimed they allegedly would be segregated and put on manual labor.

Elisabeth Moss said she can only speak to her personal experience and beliefs

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss | Gary Miller/FilmMagic

The Handmaid’s Tale star is a Scientologist and was asked about the comparisons to Gilead to Scientology because of the allegations.

Listen, it’s a complicated thing because the things that I believe in, I can only speak to my personal experience and my personal beliefs,” Elisabeth Moss told The Daily Beast. “One of the things I believe in is freedom of speech. I believe we as humans should be able to critique things. I believe in freedom of the press. I believe in people being able to speak their own opinions.”

She went on to say, “At the same time, I should hope that people educate themselves for themselves and form their own opinion, as I have. The things that I believe in personally, for me, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the ability to do something that is artistically fulfilling but is also personally fulfilling, I’ve never had that. The Handmaid’s Tale lines up so perfectly parallel with my own beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the things that this country was actually built on.”

Moss said she chooses not to talk about her personal life in interviews

Although the actress is starring in a show that is addressing a lot of real issues that are tied to religion, Moss doesn’t want to talk about her own religion in interviews.

“I choose to express myself in my work and my art,” said Moss. “I don’t choose to express myself about it in interviews. I don’t choose to talk about not just religion, but my personal life—who I’m dating and that kind of thing. So for me, it’s so hard to unpack in a sound bite or an interview, but I will say that the things that I truly believe in are the things that I’ve mentioned, and I think that they’re very important.”

She continued, “I think people should be allowed to talk about what they want to talk about and believe what they want to believe and you can’t take that away—and when you start to take that away, when you start to say ‘you can’t think that,’ ‘you can’t believe that,‘ ‘you can’t say that,’ then you get into trouble. Then you get into Gilead.”

Moss did say that she didn’t agree with the founder of Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard’s anti-LGBT stance in his writings. However, she didn’t really go further into more of her personal stances.

Read more: Why Jennifer Lopez Refused to Join Scientology, According to Leah Remini

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