Ten years ago, 'South Park' rocked Scientology in a way it's never recovered from - 2015-11-03
On November 16, it will be ten years since Comedy Central first aired the South Park episode titled "Trapped in the Closet." The episode brought to many people their first exposure to the wacky contents of Scientology's secret Operating Thetan Level Three material, in which founder L. Ron Hubbard explains that each of us is infested with invisible alien souls left over from a genocidal incident that happened 75 million years ago, courtesy of a galactic overlord named Xenu (pictured).
The OT 3 materials had been described publicly as early as 1972 in the book of a former Scientologist, Robert Kaufman. It had also been featured in some newspaper reports and online. But South Park famously put the OT 3 story into cartoon form and on cable television, and it became a huge hit. One of the people partly responsible for that episode was our old friend, journalist Mark Ebner. We asked Ebner to reminisce about that epic event for its big upcoming anniversary...
It has been a decade since Matt Stone and Trey Parker summoned me to South Park Studios to consult with them on what would become their Emmy Award-nominated "Trapped in the Closet" episode of South Park — one of the most effective pop culture blows against Scientology (and Tom Cruise's ego) to date, perhaps for all time. In one half-hour cartoon, the South Park geniuses managed to break down and fully expose the comically sinister upper-level Scientology cosmology for the next generation. I could not have been more proud of my contribution, which had me walking them through my undercover reporting experience, and contributing the key dialogue bit, "[Scientology] is a global scam."