A former Scientologist alleges the church spied on South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their show business friends.
The Church of Scientology was mad when the South Park "Trapped in the Closet" episode lampooning the church first aired in 2005, and repercussions are still being felt to this day.
New allegations allege church members went through the trash of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in an effort to gain material that would be damaging to the pair. They also investigated those who were friendly with the Parker and Stone, including John Stamos, his ex-wife Rebecca Romijn, and show consultant Matt Prager, according to the blog of former church executive Marty Rathbun.
The church's clandestine Office of Special Affairs' "main activity entails stifling criticism by an escalating gradient of techniques beginning with quiet investigation and moving up to infiltration, identification of and use of influential friends and contacts of the target, loud investigation, threats, attempts to harm the target financially, intense propaganda to discredit and ultimately, if all else fails, utter destruction of the target through overt harassment," posted Rathburn on Sunday.
In the offending episode, Stan is identified as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, and church members ask him to lead them. Stan in turn criticizes famous Scientologist Tom Cruise, who proceeds to lock himself in a closet.
The fallout at the time included Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, quitting the show in protest. Hayes, who died in 2008, was a Scientologist.
The church was founded in Los Angeles in 1954 and claims to have more than 9,000 churches, missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 165 countries, according to the church's website. Famous members include Kirstie Alley, Doug E. Fresh and Juliette Lewis.
A request for comment by the church from SheKnows about the veracity of Rathbun's claims was not returned.
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