… so he threatened to boycott Mission Impossible III publicity efforts unless Paramount pressured Viacom to pressure Comedy Central to pull an episode of South Park that makes fun of Scientologists:
HOLLYWOOD bully Tom Cruise got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night’s cablecast of a controversial “South Park” episode about Scientology by warning that he’d refuse to promote “Mission Impossible 3,” insiders say.
Since Paramount is banking on “MI3″ to rake in blockbuster profits this summer, and Paramount is owned by Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, the tactic worked.
The “South Park” episode, “Trapped in the Closet,” pokes fun at Scientology and shows Cruise, John Travolta and R. Kelly (who is not a Scientologist, but has a song called “Trapped in the Closet”) literally in a closet.
The episode, which first aired last November, was set to rerun Wednesday night, but was mysteriously pulled at the last minute.
I usually don’t get worked up over the media-consolidation bogeyman, but if it means our entertainment choices can be held hostage by Scientologists, I might have to reconsider my free-market views.
UPDATE: View part of the episode here, or download the whole thing here. Hilarious.
UPDATE II: Stone and Parker strike back:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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!!!
-Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu