Scientology Targeted "South Park" Creators After Spoof Episode
Long before Trey Parker and Matt Stone were Tony Award winners for skewering Mormonismlovingly, they were causing controversy within Scientology. Specifically, a 2005 episode of South Parkwhich poked fun at Scientologist beliefs along with many of its practitioners (Tom Cruise, obviously, and John Travolta, to name two). The airing prompted Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist who had voiced the role of the Chef for many years, to quit his role. Cruise threatened to stymie publicity efforts for Paramount Pictures' Mission Impossible III if the episode was re-aired on Comedy Central (both were Viacom holdings; it was not rerun).
But that wasn't the only backlash. Today the Village Voice points out that Marty Rathbun, defected Scientologist, has published an alleged internal memo that says Parker and Stone were targeted for their humorous critique of the famously insular religion:
The document he revealed today suggests that Scientology had identified Parker and Stone's close friends, and was examining public records on those people, looking for a vulnerability.
"To find a direct line into Stone and Parker some of their friends have been identified," reads the document, which reads like a typical OSA report on an ongoing investigation. The church's information allegedly was coming from Eric Sherman, a film consultant who Rathbun identifies as a Scientologist (the Voice is attempting to reach him), and who had talked with Troma Studio's Lloyd Kaufman for information about Parker and Stone. [...]
"These connections are being PRC'd," reads the document, and Rathbun explains that the acronym stands for "public records check." Scientology's standard procedure would be to put its private eyes on a complete check of these people and their property, legal, and other public records. If they owed taxes, or had been in messy divorces, or had been arrested, Scientology would soon know about it.
PRCs, according to Rathbun, essentially meant digging through the trash, searching for evidence that left the targets "vulnerable." Read the full piece at the Voice.