The Church of Scientology isn't prepared to sit back and let influential Hollywood types use the medium of satire to poke fun at it.
Just ask Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of 'South Park'. According to a newly leaked email, their private lives have been forensically examined by investigators working for the church's PR department.
They appear to have ended up in the line of fire in 2006, not long after the broadcast of 'Trapped in the Closet', a highly controversial episode of the cartoon, which attempted to mock the church's science fiction-based theology. According to an internal memorandum, Scientology's Office of Special Affairs mounted an investigation into Parker and Stone's circle of close friends, seeking "viable strings that can be pulled" to either discredit the duo, or to persuade them to refrain from satirising the church.
"To find a direct line into Stone and Parker, some of their friends have been identified," reads the email.
They included Matthew Prager, a Hollywood screenwriter, actors John Stamos and Rebecca Romjin, and Dave Goodman, a writer who was at college with the pair.
The memo says each of these individuals is being "PRC'd" -- a term used by private detectives which refers to the practice of checking every public record available about a target.
The memo, written on April 16, 2006, was published at the weekend by Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking Scientology executive who defected five years ago and has since been running a blog critical of the church.
He claims it is part of a large "trove" of hitherto-secret documents detailing the church's efforts to discredit the 'South Park' creators. He has promised to release others.