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.”

Heh.

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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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. 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?




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  2. 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.




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  3. 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?




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  4. legion says:

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




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  5. 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!




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