Now’s your chance! Former Scientologist Leah Remini sees the glass half full when it comes to the quarantine of the cruise ship Freewinds, which is currently in St. Lucia, due to a case of the measles.
“This outbreak could be a blessing in disguise because maybe some people can get off this ship of horrors,” the actress, who has been critical of Scientology since she left in 2013, told Newsweek of people aboard the Church-owned vessel. “Circumstances like this give an opportunity for some agencies or authorities to gain access to this ship beyond what would normally be offered.”
She told the publication that this quarantine could be members’ chance to leave the Church, as a doctor could come on board the Freewinds and ask if anyone wants to go. But, the 48-year-old actress added to Newsweek, Scientologists who might want to leave also need to know that they’d be welcome among non-members.
“They don’t know that they have a place to go,” said Remini, who went on to produce the Emmy-winning Scientology and Its Aftermath, a docuseries that features stories about people who have left the Church. “They don’t know there are people out there who are willing to literally take these people in and help them. … They need someone to care.”
Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, the island nation’s chief medical officer, announced on Tuesday, April 30, that the ship, which has about 300 passengers and crew members on board, had been quarantined. “We thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship,” she said in a video statement, noting that two people confirmed that someone on the ship has measles. “Because of the risk of potential infection, not just from the confirmed measles case, but from other persons who may be on the boat at the time, we thought it prudent to make a decision not to allow anyone to disembark.”
While no one is allowed to get off the vessel, NBC News reported that there’s nothing stopping the cruise ship from leaving. It is currently scheduled to sail off from St. Lucia at 11:59 p.m. May 2.
The Freewinds is a 440-foot ship that the Church of Scientology has been using for religious retreats since 1988, according to the group’s website. It also describes the ship as “a distraction-free environment for parishioners to study and experience the highest level of spiritual counseling available” to Scientologists.