South Park battles Scientology

Friday, March 17th, 2006 10:20 pm by Neal

(03/20/2006 UPDATE: Watch the South Park episode, “Trapped in the Closet”.)

If you saw last season’s South Park episode “Trapped in the Closet” about Stan as the reincarnation of Scientology-founder L. Ron Hubbard, then you undoubtedly laughed as hard as I did.

Xenu, depicted in South Park

Or, maybe not if you were Isaac Hayes or Tom Cruise. This week, Hayes announced that he is leaving South Park where he has been the voice of Chef since the shows inception.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Soul singer Isaac Hayes said on Monday he was quitting his job as the voice of the lusty character “Chef” on the satiric cable TV cartoon “South Park,” citing the show’s “inappropriate ridicule” of religion.

But series co-creator Matt Stone said the veteran recording artist was upset the show had recently lampooned the Church of Scientology, of which Hayes is an outspoken follower.

“In ten years and over 150 episodes of ‘South Park,’ Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim, Mormons or Jews,” Stone said in a statement issued by the Comedy Central network. “He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show.”

Neal Boortz had this to say about Hayes departure:

Isaac Hayes is apparently perfectly fine with making fun of Christians, Jews and whatever other religion South Park has taken a swing at, but quits when they have a jab at Scientology. I think we’ll all agree that South Park is an equal opportunity offender. If they haven’t offended you yet, don’t worry, they will.

But that’s not the whole story by a long shot. is reporting that Scientology-devotee Tom Cruise, who was ridiculed in the episode, had the South Park re-run pulled at the last minute from this week’s schedule:

Sources from inside Paramount and South Park Studios report that parent company Viacom pulled last night’s scheduled repeat of the high-rated “Trapped in the Closet” episode after the humorless Scientologist movie star Tom Cruise threatened to cancel all publicity for Mission Impossible:3 if Comedy Central aired the episode that satirizes Scientology and mocks his sexuality again.

Not only is this the first time that the South Park creators have been officially censored in their ten hit seasons with Comedy Central, Viacom officials also reportedly ordered Matt Stone and Trey Parker not to discuss the reason why their episode was cancelled.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Coverage of the story is here including this comment from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

“So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!” the “South Park” creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. “Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies… You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!”

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