The Church of Scientology searched through the trash and did a private record check on South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker and their friends over an episode which made allusions to the sexual orientation of Tom Cruise and John Travolta, according to a blog post by former Scientology executive Martin Rathbun.
In the 2005 episode of Comedy Central's satirical animated series titled "Trapped In The Closet," Stan joins Scientology and is revealed to be the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard.A group of notable Scientologists, including Cruise and Travolta, gather in South Park, and through plot machinations, eventually retreat into Stan's closet. The episode was nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Animated Program. Cruise is reported to have been angry at the depiction and allegedly threatened to back out of promotional duties for the 2006 Mission Impossible 3, produced by Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central), unless the episode was pulled from the rebroadcast schedule. Cruise has denied the allegation.
Rathbun, a former Scientology executive who defected in 2009 and has since become a critic of the church, posted on his blog an internal Corporate Scientology memorandum to expose the standard operating pattern and methodologies of the Office of Special Affairs, which he refers to as "the harassment and terror network of Corporate Scientology."
Rathbum writes that in addition to Parker and Stone, the church also investigated their close friends, actors John Stamos, his then-wife Rebecca Romijn, and David Goodman, who attended college with Parker and Stone.
Rathbun tells the Village Voice that a public records check is done to locate a vulnerability. Asked what the investigators would be searching for, Rathbun listed the following: "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."
Rathbun tells the Voice that today's blog post is the first in a series about the investigation.