11/16/2005 - Comedy Central airs the South Park episode Trapped in the Closet in which Stan is wooed into Scientology and is subsequently held up as the re-incarnation of L. Ron Hubbard. Tom Cruise comes to visit Stan/L. Ron but after being shunned by the 4th grader, Tom locks himself in the closet and refuses to come out. The highlight of the episode is an actual explanation of core Scientology beliefs (involving Thetans and spaceships and the galactic warlord Xenu) with the words "This is what Scientologists actually believe" at the bottom of the screen. At the end of the episode Tom Cruise threatens a lawsuit and Stan exclaims, "I don't care! SUE ME!!!" and the end credits show the South Park staff and crew made up entirely of John Does and Jane Does.
1/4/2006 - The Onion AVC posts an interview with Isaac Hayes in which he talks about being the voice of "Chef" on South Park.
AVC: They did just do an episode that made fun of your religion, Scientology. Did that bother you?
IH: Well, I talked to Matt and Trey about that. They didn't let me know until it was done. I said, "Guys, you have it all wrong. We're not like that. I know that's your thing, but get your information correct, because somebody might believe that shit, you know?" But I understand what they're doing. I told them to take a couple of Scientology courses, and understand what we do. [Laughs.]
1/18/2006 - Isaac Hayes is hospitalized for exhaustion.
3/11/2006 - Isaac Hayes releases a statement that he is quitting South Park because he can no longer take their disrespect of religions. "South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responds sharply saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians."
3/15/2006 - Comedy Central suddenly pulls the "Trapped in the Closet" episode which had been scheduled to repeat and replaces it with two "Chef"-centric episodes.
3/16/2006 - Internet rumours abound that Tom Cruise threatened to boycott publicity junkets for Paramount's "Mission Impossible III" if Comedy Central re-aired "Trapped in the Closet". (Both companies are owned by Viacom). Tom Cruise's publicist releases a statement that says "Tom never said that."
3/18/2006 - Matt Parker and Trey Stone, furious that the repeat Scientology episode was yanked, release a bizarre statement saying the battle has just begun.
3/20/2006 - Roger Friedman of FOX NEWS reports that Isaac Hayes was hospitalized in January because of a stroke and NOT exhaustion and that he did not quit South Park himself, but that someone "quit for him".
3/22/2006 - Roger Friedman runs a second item revealing that all of Hayes' communication comes through a woman named Christina "Kumi" Kimball, a fashion executive for designer Craig Taylor, and yes, a Scientologist.
3/22/2006 - The season premiere of South Park begins with an episode called "The Return of Chef" in which Chef (appearing through re-edited bits of previous episode's dialogue) falls under the influence of the "Super Adventure Club," a secretive group that worships pedophilia and brainwashes its members into becoming child molesters. During an explanation of the club's beliefs, the words "This is what the Super Adventure Club actually believes" appears at the bottom of the screen. In the climax to the episode, the kids of South Park try to rescue Chef, but he falls off a bridge into a ravine, where he is impaled on a tree trunk and mauled by wild animals. At Chef's funeral Kyle says "We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us. We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains."
No word yet on when "Trapped in the Closet" will re-air.