Cruise Control

912_tomcruise_1

Tom Cruise is denying that he put any pressure on Viacom to pull the re-run of the "Trapped in the Closet" episode. But it's important to remember that the show never aired at all in Britain, where the media is more vulnerable to libel claims. Ever wonder why? Comedy Central's official explanation - that it aired another show to salute Isaac Hayes - also strikes me as absurd. Hayes just called the show bigoted, and you choose that moment to honor him? The only way Comedy Central can show that they are not lying about this is to broadcast "Trapped in the Closet" again. Next week. Or at least, to put it in rotation again (as of now, it isn't scheduled). This seems on the face of it to be yet another example of a big media company kow-towing to religious sensitivities. Comedy Central has already yanked one South Park episode, under pressure from the Catholic League. Now they're caving in to the Scientologists. Can you see them allowing another South Park episode which includes Muhammad? South Park has portrayed Muhammad before, but that was before the Islamist bullies took to the streets. You think Viacom cares about freedom of expression?

So here's what we can do. Email Viacom to protest their submission to Tom Cruise. The main email address I can find on their site is press@viacom.com. Email Comedy Central to demand the airing of "Trapped in the Closet"; use this page to send an email and put "Support Freedom of Speech" in the contents line; and add your own personal message beneath. If you're a blogger, encourage your readers to do the same, and advertize these email addresses on your site. Let's see if we can harness the blogosphere against the censors. Finally, make sure you don't go see Paramount's "Mission Impossible: 3," Cruise's upcoming movie. I know you weren't going to see it anyway. But now any money you spend on this movie is a blow against freedom of speech. Boycott it. Tell your friends to boycott it.