Tom Cruise has a new “Mission” coming out soon, but right now, he's also get a new controversy on his hands.
The question at hand is, did Tom threaten to derail his own movie in order to have a Scientology spoof taken off the air?
Sparking the controversy — an old episode of the Comedy Central cartoon “South Park,” which pokes fun at Scientology and targets Cruise.
It's no secret that Tom has long been Scientology's most outspoken member.
“What Scientology is, is it addresses man as a spiritual being,” Cruise said.
The episode first aired in November and was scheduled to re-air on Wednesday night, March 15. But Comedy Central (which is owned by Viacom), abruptly pulled a repeat of the episode.
Reportedly, because Tom objected, threatening not to promote the Paramount film “Mission: Impossible III” if the episode wasn't pulled.
The connection between the two? Paramount is owned by Viacom.
However, a spokesperson for Cruise denies that Tom made the threat saying, “He never said nay such thing about ‘Mission: Impossible III.’”
In true “South Park” form, show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker issued the following statement:
“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.”
Celebrity marketing expert Ryan Shinman said to chalk up a victory for the power of celebrity, but it may not have the desired effect.
“I think it's going to backfire a little bit because at the end of the day, how many people truly watch 'South Park' on a Wednesday at 10 p.m.? Now, I think the audience is going to grow even more to see what these guys are doing next,” Shinman explained.
But Tom doesn't seem to be letting the controversy bother him. He and pregnant wife Katie Holmes (who is due next month) enjoyed themselves, hugging and kissing, as they watched the USA take on Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in Southern California.
For photos of Tom and Katie hanging out at the game, check out our photo gallery!