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Salt Park, a South Park Parody, Skewers Anti-LGBTQ Mormon Church

Salt Park, a South Park Parody, Skewers Anti-LGBTQ Mormon Church

'South Park' Parody 'Salt Park' Skewers Anti-LGBTQ Mormon Church

Fred Karger discusses his new animated film targeting religious hypocrisy, which is now available to view in full.


"There are consequences for all the hate and shaming of LGBTQ Mormons, especially teenagers," Fred Karger tells The Advocate.

Karger, who rose to fame after he became the first openly gay presidential candidate in 2012, is an outspoken critic of the Mormon Church. His latest project, Salt Park: The Movie, is the latest iteration of this activism. The film seeks to expose the church's hypocrisy and homophobia, including the infamous November Policy, which considers same-sex marriage "apostasy" and bars the children of same-sex couples from membership or baptism. Policies such as these have led to a spike in suicides of LGBTQ youth in Utah.

Salt Park: The Movie, which is available to watch in full below, is also encouraging those with any information about the church's hypocrisy -- or any potential tax fraud -- to reach out with information at

The Advocate: What inspired Salt Park?
Fred Karger: As a part of our effort to keep pressure on the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), we launched in January 2017 with our first commercial, "Help Us." In it, we asked Mormons and ex-Mormons to send us tips on questionable Mormon Church political activities and potential tax fraud on its estimated $1 trillion in business holdings.

The 60-second commercial was supposed to run all over Utah for a week, but it was pulled by Comcast the day before it was to begin airing and a week after its legal department had approved it. We found out later that Mormon Church attorneys had threatened Comcast with a cease-and-desist order demanding they not run our "Help Us" commercial. The church's heavy-handedness backfired.

When the story broke, the controversy generated a tremendous amount of news coverage. We immediately appealed to Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts for fairness. Then the story ran in Comcast's hometown newspaper, ThePhiladelphia Inquirer.Within days of that story, the commercial was suddenly cleared and allowed to run. It ran in the five largest Utah markets for its original weeklong buy. Our tips line and email inbox were flooded with tips.

For the past almost two years we have been making and airing a variety of other commercials and videos for TV, on our YouTube channel, and on our website. Salt Park is our latest and by far our most ambitious undertaking.

What are the key issues you wanted to highlight with your movie?
In Salt Park: The Movie, we hope to educate Mormon Church members, ex-Mormons, and non-Mormons on just how wealthy and powerful the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually is. We are also hoping to undermine homophobic church leaders by exposing their hypocrisy and how their 19th-century thinking is destroying their standing in the world and causing the church to lose members like never before. The church recently admitted to the "slowest growth" last year in the last 80 years. In other words, membership is plummeting and whatever growth there is, is taking place in Africa and the South Pacific, both of which are big drains on precious church finances.

Who is your intended audience?
Salt Park was designed to entertain, educate, and get tips on potential Mormon Church tax fraud. As the opening warning suggested, Salt Park was intended for Mormon and ex-Mormon audiences to teach them as well as non-Mormons about the church's massive business holdings, the fact that they don't pay taxes, and to seek whistle-blowers to come forward with information.

This isn't your first campaign against the Mormon Church. Tell us about your history of activism against the religion and what sparked it.
In 2008, I was independently doing the opposition research on and tracking the money coming into the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign through our new organization Californians Against Hate. Two months before the election, I discovered that Mormon Church members were the principal funders of the anti-gay marriage campaign to the tune of $450,000 a day. I turned my discovery over to TheWall Street Journal, which broke the story. The Mormon Church has never been quite the same ever since.

For the past 10 years, I have been working hard to keep pressure on leading Mormons and Mormon Church leaders to stop funding and running other anti-LGBTQ campaigns and more recently to stop shaming its LGBTQ members. Three years ago, church leaders came out with their hate-filled, infamous November Policy that banned same-sex married Mormons and their children under 18 from the church. The November Policy immediately led to a rash of Mormon teen suicides. This is when I decided to fight back against church leaders, and we launched the biggest, loudest, and most comprehensive challenge to a church's tax-exempt status in history through our Mormon Tips campaign.

In August 2018 we filed a 283 page IRS complaint alleging tax fraud by the church and three of its divisions with the IRS. That case is under way and could cost the church hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes, penalties, and interest.

Why did you choose an animated South Park parody to convey your message this time?
Salt Park became our latest effort to seek tips and get them in a more lighthearted way. The innovative animated show was designed to entertain, educate, and get tips with a humorous approach. Since we launched the show in April, we have received a tremendous number of tips that we've been following up on. As Mormon Church members learn the truth about the church, its finances, and its evil ways, they are leaving the church in record numbers. Millennials are especially disenchanted with church leadership as they find out the truth on the internet and through hundreds of online discussion groups. Our hope is that Salt Park: The Movie will help to shine a spotlight on church leaders and their policies.

It's also a great vehicle to treat our allies well and poke fun at our adversaries. For example, Matthew S. Holland, who plays the school counselor who accompanies the four kids from Salt Park throughout the movie, is actually the president of the largest university in Utah, Utah Valley University (a real demotion). Holland, in real life, was the man who brought in the Catholic Church to join the Mormon Church to qualify and pass California's Prop. 8. Together they also formed the hate group the National Organization for Marriage to serve as the front group for all their anti-LGBTQ activities around the country. Holland served on NOM's board for five years as the Mormon Church representative. He's the son of Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, who appears in the movie, too.

Salt Park first lived as a web series. What were the responses like from Mormons?
I am afraid that active Mormons felt we were distorting the truth on Salt Park, which is not the case at all. Our material is factual, and the truth can often hurt. We have received hundreds of tips, and some were very nasty. I learned early on that whenever an email starts out with "I've got a tip for you...," I knew it was not going to be good. The ex-Mormon audiences have loved it. We had a packed premiere in Salt Lake City last April and at various screenings around the country (and even in Germany over the summer) and audiences have enjoyed it.

What do you hope the takeaway of Salt Park is for viewers this time?
We want our viewers to learn about the Mormon Church's embarrassment of riches and highly questionable business practices. If Salt Park can help church members learn the truth that they are never taught in seminary, it's a good thing. If it can move the needle and help church leaders to open their hearts to LGBTQ Mormons who are struggling, then we have accomplished a lot. Salt Park and our other actions are in place to provide a voice for all vulnerable LGBTQ Mormon teens.

What message do you want to send to the Mormon Church?
There are consequences for all the hate and shaming of LGBTQ Mormons, especially teenagers. The attempted suicide rate of these teens is eight times the national average in Utah, all because of the horrific policies brought forth by church leaders. We are fighting back for these young tormented Mormons who can't. We plan to keep the pressure on church leadership until they welcome LGBTQ Mormons and their families back into the church and stop their bullying.

Watch Salt Park: The Movie below.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.