“South Parkâ€ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone havenâ€™t finished messing with the Church of Scientology, or Tom Cruise, just yet.
The current issue of Rolling Stone, available on newsstands through March 22, features a story on “South Parkâ€™sâ€ 10th anniversary and the creatorsâ€™ illustrious career pushing the limits of controversy. Accompanying that story, timed nicely to coincide with the beginning of the showâ€™s 11th season, is a (likely altered) photo of the boys spray-painting grafitti on the churchâ€™s LA headquarters sign. It reads “The Church of Scientology is dumbâ€ and “Hi Tomâ€ with a depiction of “South Parkâ€ character Eric Cartmanâ€™s head.
Parker and Stone first took on Scientology in November 16, 2005 with one of the showâ€™s most controversial episodes, “Trapped in the Closet.â€
In it, Church of Scientology leaders declare Stan Marsh the reincarnation of Sci-Fi writer turned religion creator L. Ron Hubbard. When Stan shows a lack of enthusiasm for Tom Cruiseâ€™s film work, Cruise locks himself in Stanâ€™s closet. Fellow high-profile Scientologist John Travolta joins Cruise, as does R. Kelly after failed attempts to persuade Tom to “come out of the closet.â€
Isaac Hayes, who voiced the character “Chefâ€ and is also a Scientologist, quit the show March 13, 2006. “There are reports that Isaac had a stroke and Scientology quit the show for him, and I believe it … It was a brutal, up-close, personal thing with Isaac. If you look at the timeline, something doesnâ€™t add up,â€ the Rolling Stone story reports.
The show attracted even more attention when Comedy Central bowed to pressure from parent company Viacom to cancel a rerun of the episode scheduled for March 16, 2006. Rumors abounded that Tom Cruise threatened not to promote his new movie “Mission: Impossible: III,â€ for another Viacom company, Paramount, unless the episode was pulled. It finally aired again in July and was later nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Animated Program.â€
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