By ERIN CARLSON, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - "South Park" has declared war on Scientology. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the animated satire, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion after a controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise was yanked abruptly from the schedule Wednesday — with Internet rumors it was covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.
"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" the "South Park" creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. "Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies... You have obsructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!"
.....In another dig at the famously secretive religion, the credits at show's end are filled with names like "John Smith" and "Jane Smith."
The battle began in earnest earlier this week when Isaac Hayes, another celebrity Scientologist and longtime show member — voicing the ladies' man Chef — quit the show, saying he could no longer tolerate its religious "intolerance and bigotry."
Stone and Parker didn't buy that either.
On Monday, Stone told The Associated Press, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith in Scientology...He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians."