Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the popular animated series South Park, have angered many factions over the course of their shows nine-year life. Now, however, they may have met their match: Tom Cruise.
Cable channel Comedy Central pulled a repeat Wednesday of a South Park episode that poked fun at Cruise's oft-contested sexuality and his religion, Scientology, which was founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. In the episode, "Trapped In The Closet," Tom Cruise locks himself in a closet after one of the characters on the show is chosen as a Scientology savior.
A cartoon version of Cruise's ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, tries to coax Cruise out, saying, "Don't you think this has gone on long enough? It's time for you to come out of the closet. You're not fooling anyone."
Today, Parker and Stone took out a full-page ad in Hollywood newspaper Variety declaring their intention not to be intimidated by heavy-handed tactics.
"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!" the pair said in the ad.
In January, Cruise was successful in keeping the episode from airing in the UK. This week, the blogsphere buzzed that Cruise had threatened Paramount, who shares corporate parent Viacom with Comedy Central, that he wouldn't do publicity for their upcoming Mission: Impossible III if the episode wasn't pulled, a fact Cruise's publicist denied.
"He never said any such thing about Mission: Impossible III," said Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson.
Last year, Cruise made headlines when he exhibited odd behavior on The Oprah Winfrey Show and verbally sparred with Today Show host Matt Lauer for believing in psychiatry.
Instead of airing the Cruise episode, the network aired a different episode focusing on Chef, the character played by the departing Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist. Hayes, who has voiced the character of Chef for nine seasons on the show, quit the show this week, citing "religious bigotry" as his reason.
After Hayes' resignation, Stone told Associated Press, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith in Scientology...He has no problem--and he's cashed plenty of checks--with our show making fun of Christians. [We] never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin."