This much we know: Comedy Central pulled a repeat of a "South Park" episode that mocks Tom Cruise and Scientology from its Wednesday-night schedule.
As to why that happened, well, there's where things get a little cloudy.
The episode, "Trapped in the Closet," first aired in November. It was scheduled to repeat on Wednesday (March 15), a week before the show's new season begins, but it was quietly pulled in favor of "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls," a showcase for the Chef character voiced by Isaac Hayes, who quit "South Park" this week over what he called the show's "intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs."
Matt Stone, a co-creator of the show, noted that Hayes is also a Scientologist and had never voiced concern about "South Park's" previous mocking of Judaism, Islam and various forms of Christianity.
A Comedy Central rep tells the New York Post that the switch was made to pay tribute to Hayes, who had been with the show from its beginning. That hasn't stopped rumors from flying that Cruise, who takes a satirical beating in the episode, had something to do with its disappearance.
Some blog reports have Cruise threatening to refrain from promoting "Mission: Impossible 3" if the episode aired. The movie's distributor, Paramount Pictures, and Comedy Central are both part of Viacom. And since the media conglomerate is banking on big box-office returns for "M:I-3," the star's threat worked, the reports say.
A spokesman for Cruise, however, tells Variety that "he never said any such thing about 'Mission: Impossible 3.'"
Which leaves the last word with Stone and fellow "South Park" creator Trey Parker, who released, no kidding, the following statement to the trade paper (emphasis and exclamation points all Parker and Stone's):
"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!! [Signed,] Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times