Director Paul Haggis and actress Leah Remini have one huge thing in common: both belonged to the Church of Scientology and defected from the controversial church that holds such stars as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley and John Travolta among its ranks.

In an emotional conversation before an audience in New York City, reports the Daily Mail, Remini and Haggis shared their stories of making the difficult decision to leave the church, and the backlash they experienced.

Related: Leah Remini Explosive Claims About Tom Cruise’s Family In Tell-All

In addition, Haggis claimed there have been numerous A-list celebrities over the years who joined the church and left — people we would be shocked to learn were one-time Scientologists — because they’re too fearful, of retaliation from the church but also from the negative public stigma associated with Scientology.

Haggis, however, didn’t name any names, although he said the mentality of those silent defectors was: “Walk away. Don’t say anything. It will hurt your career.”;