Hollywood, Interrupted reports that sources inside Paramount and South Park studios say  the scheduled repeat of one of my fave South Park episodes, "Trapped in the Closet" - the one that satirizes Scientology and has R. Kelly singing to  Tom Cruise to "come out of the closet" - was pulled due to Cruise threatening parent company Viacom. Cruise reportedly threatened to pull advertising for his upcoming film, Mission: Impossible: 3 if the South Park episode was aired. 

In their long history with Comedy Central, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have never been censored, not even for their infamous "Bloody Mary episode", but Cruise throws his weight around and suddenly the boys have their mouths duct-taped? Following the news that Scientologist Isaac Hayes, who voiced The Chef on the show, quit because he was offended by the Scientology spoof, this story, if it proves to be true, doesn't really serve to make Hollywood Scientologists look like good sports, eh?

 

If Viacom really did censor South Park over Cruise threatening to pull advertising, shame on them for kowtowing to his demands. Scientologists have a right to practice their religion, sure. And people like Parker and Stone have a right to lampoon Scientology. The South Park folks are equal opportunity offenders; they've targeted Jews, Catholics, Fundamentalist Christians, Mormans Mormons (ed. 3/16/06 -  thanks to reader jferrin for pointing out my disgraceful misspelling, and humble apologies to my Mormon pals), Muslims and starving Ethiopians, just to name a few. 

Did Hayes and Cruise get their panties in a twist over any of those episodes? Nope. But when Parker and Stone turn their lens to an examination of the foundations of Scientology and put Tom Cruise and John Travolta in a closet together, Cruise suddenly brings on the threats? The irony is that you can view the funnier parts of the episode on Comedy Central's website anyhow. Parker and Stone are rumored to have been muzzled by the big dogs on the truth around the episode being pulled, but knowing those two, I wouldn't expect them to just take this sitting down. I smell a South Park episode with Cruise as a Scientology terrorist coming around the bend...

[via Hollywood Elsewhere ]