At the 2000 MTV Movie Awards, Trey Parker shouted “Free the West Memphis Three!” while accepting an award. Later that year, Parker wore a wm3.org t-shirt during an Access Hollywood interview.
For me, Trey Parker is still the most disappointing celebrity WM3 supporter. I love South Park. I love Team America. And no one has satirized arrogant, misinformed celebrity cause-mongering more astutely or mercilessly.
In a 2004 interview with Hollywood, Interrupted, Trey Parker said:
And celebrities view themselves as the fucking Mozarts of their time. Even fucking Ray Romano thinks he is an elightened individual. These people all think they are enlightened artists and therefore speak for the country. But I haven’t met one celebrity who wasn’t a little bit fucked up. Actors and actresses are the worst, because they are just fucking monkeys. Half the people in this country can do what they do, but for some reason they think their opinion matters.
In the same vein, Team America had puppet Janeane Garofalo pompously declare, “As actors, it is our responsibility to read the newspapers, and then say what we read on television like it’s our own opinion.”
But on the WM3 issue, Trey Parker did exactly what he mocked other celebrities for doing. He watched a movie, read a website written by people who watched the same movie, then repeated what he heard on television like it was his own opinion. In the process, Parker helped make folk heroes out of scumbags who tortured and murdered second-graders for kicks. That’s at least as fucked up as anything Rob Reiner or Barbra Streisand ever did.
In the same Hollywood, Interrupted interview, Parker said:
People in the middle of the country do not matter AT ALL to the entertainment people in LA or New York. People in the entertainment industry are by and large whore-chasing drug-addict fuck-ups, right? But they still believe they’re better than the guy in Wyoming who really loves his wife and takes care of his kids and is a good, outstanding, wholesome person.
But in his MTV shout out, Trey Parker was essentially saying, “Ha ha, fuck you wholesome Arkansas people who take care of their kids! Here in Hollywood, we think the guys who tortured and murdered your children are cool!”
Trey Parker, it’s not too late. (No, I’m not self-absorbed enough to think the creators of South Park read this site. But maybe they have a clipping service or Google alert. Maybe someone reading this has a friend of a friend who works for William Morris. Who knows.) It’s not too late to read the facts, realize you’ve been had, and be brave enough to admit publicly, “I was wrong about the West Memphis Three”. You could be the first celebrity WM3 apostate.