Monday, 24 October 2011

Scientology targeted South Park creators over 2005 Tom Cruise episode

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A still from the 2005 South Park episode
It's common knowledge that the Church of Scientology has a history of targeting its most prominent opponents, attempting to dig up dirt and generally make life more difficult for them, so it doesn't come as a huge surprise to learn that South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were investigated by the cult following the legendary (and hilarious) 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet", which mocked the cult and some of its famous adherents, including Tom Cruise.

Nevertheless, it's always fascinating to gain an insight into the workings of Scientology, and those have been coming thick and fast in recent months courtesy of the former Church executive Marty Rathbun, who has been spilling the beans by publishing internal documents on his blog. His latest post features a 2006 document from the Church's Office of Special Affairs (a sort of internal intelligence agency) identifying associates of Stone and Parker who could be investigated in order to find "some viable strings that can be pulled" against the South Park writers. The document states that details could be obtained through "covert information gathering such as trash collection, purchased phone records, hacked airline reservations, purchased bank records".

Going through opponents' trash is a known Scientology tactic and, speaking to Village Voice magazine's Tony Ortega, who has tirelessly tracked the Church's activities in recent years, Rathbun explained what it would be looking to find using such grubby methods:
"Phone records. Bank records. Personal letters that expose some kind of vulnerability. They'll read stuff into the kind of alcohol you're drinking and how much. Prescriptions. They'll figure out your diet. They can find out a lot about you through your trash."
So, let that be a warning. If you're planning on making a mockery of Tom Cruise any time soon, be sure to mind what goes in your bin.
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