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Tom Cruise Blackmails South Park

Several media reports have it that Comedy Central pulled Wednesday’s scheduled repeat of the “South Park” Scientology/Tom Cruise spoof episode, “Trapped in the Closet.”

Tom Cruise reportedly got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night’s cablecast of the controversial “South Park” episode about Scientology by warning that he’d refuse to promote “Mission Impossible 3,” reports today’s Page Six.

Paramount, the film company who holds Cruise’s contract, is counting on “MI3” to bring in blockbuster profits this summer, and Paramount is owned by parent company Viacom, which so happens to also own Comedy Central.

Variety‘s Michael Flemming reports that Cruise denies this and Comedy Central claims it changed its schedule to show “Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls” to honor Isaac Hayes, who had just resigned from the show. The creative team put out a classic response:

While the “South Park” creators didn’t directly comment on Comedy Central’s decision to pull the episode, they issued an unusual statement to Daily Variety indicating the battle is not over.

“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 duo signed the statement “Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu.”


Andrew Sullivan is unimpressed with Comedy Central’s answer and fears they are bowing to religious intolerance. He suggests action:

Email Viacom to protest their submission to Tom Cruise. The main email address I can find on their site is press@viacom.com. Email Comedy Central to demand the airing of “Trapped in the Closet”; use this page to send an email and put “Support Freedom of Speech” in the contents line; and add your own personal message beneath. If you’re a blogger, encourage your readers to do the same, and advertize these email addresses on your site. Let’s see if we can harness the blogosphere against the censors. Finally, make sure you don’t go see Paramount’s “Mission Impossible: 3,” Cruise’s upcoming movie. I know you weren’t going to see it anyway. But now any money you spend on this movie is a blow against freedom of speech. Boycott it. Tell your friends to boycott it.

So, don’t go see a movie you weren’t going to see anyway–and chalk it up to fighting for freedom. America. F- yeah!

crosspost to OTB: Gone Hollywood

Update: Of course, you can watch “Trapped in the Closet” via YouTube.

Act now before Tom Cruise gets to them, too.



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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. […] from OTB Permalink | Comments (0) | Send TrackBack | Trackbacks(0) […]

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  2. legion says:

    Ummm… isn’t Cruise in some way contractually obligated to promote the movie?

    If he’s not, then Paramount is a bunch of idiots for hanging promotion for a 9-figure blockbuster on a tempermental (and possibly mental) actor’s good graces. If he is, then Paramount just gave him and every other actor with a political bone to pick implicit power to hold the studio for ransom, and Paramount is still a bunch of idiots.

    Or did I just answer my own question?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. RJN says:

    If South Park trashes Tom’s religion why can’t Tom strike back???

    If he can do it – not publicize the movie – he should do it. Screw South Park.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 28

  4. Elmo says:

    JJ quoting Andy, about half a TomKat, getting twisted undies over a cartoon, that Shaft left. Ah, the modern world. Is it beer-thirty yet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. South Park: kiss-off Viacom!…

    When South Park’s the Trapped in the Closet first aired, Findlaw wondered would Tom Cruise win if he sued? And would it be smart? This week we learned he didn’t have to: Tom Cruise reportedly got Comedy Central to cancel……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. legion says:

    I’ll be damned. T-bird made a funny!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. […] First, it is alleged that Tom Cruise and Scientology are blackmailing Comedy Central over a controversial episode of “South Park” making fun of the cult. Now, Roger Friedman has an odd piece at Fox News alleging that, contrary to last week’s reports that Isaac Hayes had quit South Park because they made fun of Scientology, in fact “someone quit it for him.” Further, “Hayes is in no position to have quit anything. Contrary to news reports, the great writer, singer and musician suffered a stroke on Jan. 17.” […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Cheswik says:

    Yo people,
    Cruise is a moron, and he’s doing illegal stuff. Legion, I totally agree with you. This is a whack at the foundations of America, Freedom of Speech people! I say we give Cruise and Viacom hell!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0