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Normally, a celebrity's greatest enemy comes in the form of a particularly scathing critic. But some famous people have the misfortune of becoming the target of a shadowy cabal that's willing to suspend their world-dominance campaign to simply harass that guy from that piece-of-shit movie about the talking dog/car/chimpanzee with a doctorate.

At that point, these famous people suddenly find themselves in their very own personal crime thriller, but without the mandatory topless scene halfway through. We're talking about real incidents like ...

5
Scientology Sent Detectives And Spies To The South Park Offices

Comedy Central Productions

When we think of spycraft, we conjure images of trench-coated men smoking cigarettes in the rain while taking pictures of diplomats banging escorts. It's a dirty, exciting business that can destroy marriages, businesses, and even nations. Unless you work for Scientology's Office of Special Affairs, where the delicate skill of subterfuge is used not to topple tyrants but to harass two sarcastic Gen-Xers who made a cartoon mocking the guy from Cocktail.

Comedy Central Productions
One hundred percent accurate, apparently.

Back in 2005, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone made headlines by using their show to attack an organization previously considered untouchable: Scientology. They did so by attacking its most famous acolyte, Tom Cruise, in an episode entitled "Trapped In The Closet" (we'll let you figure out what angle of attack they chose to go with). The episode caused quite a stir, especially when noted Scientologist and sexiest-voice-haver Isaac Hayes quit the show because of it.

Comedy Central Productions
Serenading grade-schoolers with songs about scrotal fellatio: Totally down.
Co-workers joking about Xenu: BURN IT TO THE GROUND.

But after a brief media battle, Scientology seemingly backed down and went back to bad-mouthing mental-health care. However, in 2011 a high-level defector started leaking Scientologist reports, some of which revealed that the organization hadn't stopped waging war on South Park at all -- they had just gone cold.

Scientology's second-favorite way of dealing with detractors, next to suing the pants off people and then going back for the socks, is digging up dirt. Literally, as first Scientology hired a bunch of private investigators to go to the South Park offices and go through their trash. Not only that, these PIs also wrote down license plates, logged employee lunch habits, and reported on which offices were vulnerable enough for a "special collection." Next, they started profiling Parker and Stone's employees to find out who would be vulnerable enough to "interview," trying to get their close friends and colleagues to reveal anything that would embarrass two guys who make puppets 69 for a living.

Michael Elins/Rolling Stone
Or whose idea of a "Christmas card" involves Jesus and Santa beating
the dog shit out of one another.

However, it seems South Park employees are as fiercely loyal as most Soviet sleeper cells, so the Scientology dicks (detectives) came up short. This triggered the next phase of the Scientologists' plan: inserting a mole into Parker and Stone's inner circle. A convert, who was also a film student, was to be used to infiltrate South Park and establish communications with the OSA. That never happened, of course, not in the very least because Hollywood internships are really, really hard to get -- even if you know Tom Cruise. The documented stalking dries up after those botched attempts, which probably means they stopped trying. That's somehow more embarrassing than actually spying on the most celebrated makers of animated dick jokes in the first place.

4
Stalin Wanted To Assassinate John Wayne

Warner Brothers Pictures

Back in the day, all men were intimidated by John Wayne. He was the epitome of Tinseltown manliness: a languid, gun-slinging American hot shot who looked pretty good in chaps. Despite those accolades, the Duke wasn't exactly someone you'd expect to be dangerous enough to become the target of a communist dictator's assassination plot, yet that's exactly what happened. Because Joseph Stalin might have been a monster, but he was also a man.

Russian Federation
And both those sides were insecure dicks.

Stalin had heard of Wayne's staunchly anti-communist beliefs and began to worry that Wayne's influential Hollywood glory and galvanizing man-stubble would eventually pose a problem to his regime. He, of course, decided the only way to deal with this kind of opposition was to order the KGB to assassinate Wayne. When the FBI came and warned him of the plot, the actor had only one thing to say: Let them come.

Duke wanted to solve this problem himself, the Hollywood way. He brought in a screenwriter and started spitballing scenarios to scare the Soviet killers straight. There are still stories of Wayne kidnapping the assassins, driving them to the coast, and staging such a frightening mock execution they actually changed allegiances so as to never be on Wayne's bad side again. Those are just rumors, of course. But c'mon, just look at this guy.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
How could you not defect for a forehead like that?

Then, like a true frontiersman, Wayne decided to take the fight to the enemy. Creating his own small anti-communist cabal of muscle-bulging stuntmen, Wayne proceeded to organize raids on communist cells to find out if his life was still in danger. Just to be sure, he also moved his family to a mansion behind a huge wall. At this point, we're starting to feel bad for those Soviet assassins, who probably thought they had caught a break getting to kill an actor instead of the president.

Republic Pictures
"Our opponents punch John Wayne as hard as they can and live to talk about it.
Let's just go home and bathe in vodka."

Luckily, after Stalin's death in 1953, his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, called off the hit, describing it as a result of Stalin's "mad last five years." However, Soviet Russia wasn't the only communist superpower with a grudge. When Wayne went to entertain the troops in 1966, a Vietnamese sniper was caught claiming Chinese red leader Mao Zedong had put a bounty on the aging movie star's head. Probably a good thing he never went to Cuba, then.

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3
The FBI Spied On George Carlin Over A Joke

HBO

George Carlin's standup routines are practically synonymous with rebellion and social progression. From his groundbreaking critique of arbitrary language rules to his later routines that were just inevitable old-man rants in disguise, Carlin always had it out for the government and never gave two Mad Men-era unhealthy shits about trying to hide that fact. It's strange, then, that it was not his provocative standup but a late-night sketch that put Carlin on the FBI's radar.

In 1969, Carlin appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, doing a satirical impression of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, which, especially by Carlin standards, was mild and inoffensive enough that today even Jimmy Fallon would cringe at its tameness.

ABC Television
"Seven Wacky Faces You Can't Make On Television."

Still, when he did the bit again about a year later on The Carol Burnett Show, a memo started circulating the FBI offices: "What do we know of Carlin? H." Hoover was a notoriously thin-skinned man who often used the bureau as his personal vendetta machine. Soon after the memo, a new file was opened on Carlin, emboldened with the words "CRIME RESEARCH."

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Monstrous crimes, like changing the man's name slightly and insinuating he enjoys barbecue. TWICE.

By the time they decided to leave the poor guy alone, the FBI had accumulated 12 pages on Carlin. Granted, those 12 pages aren't exactly the FBI making full use of the I in their name. Instead, the file reads like J. Edgar Hoover created the first-ever comment section, with most of it being gathered hate mail aimed at both shows Carlin did his Hoover bit on. Also in the file is Hoover's thank-you note to one of the letter writers, all about how much he appreciates them for defending the old and frail institution that is the FBI. Honestly, what kind of a petty egomaniac takes the time to thank people doing their hating for them?

Donald Trump / Twitter
We sure are glad those days are over

2
Al Capone Kidnapped Fats Waller To Play A Birthday Party

20th Century Fox

Not every terrifyingly batshit criminal has a massive grudge against the arts. Even The Joker or Doctor Octopus attend an art exhibition every once in a while. Granted, they're usually there to rob the joint, but all those stolen masterworks surely cultivate some good taste. Which is bad news for artists, of course, because when supervillains want something, they just take it -- even if that something's a 300-pound pianist.

Iconic Halloween costume Al Capone was a huge fan of jazz, and an even huger fan of Fats Waller's music. In 1926, the 21-year-old jazz prodigy left New York to play a few venues in Chicago. This just happened to coincide with Capone's birthday, so a few of Capone's mob bros hatched a plan: to give Fats to Scarface as a darling gift on his 27th birthday. One night, after a brilliant performance at the Sherman Hotel, Waller felt a revolver poking in his back while he was trying to leave the venue. In a split second, he was thrown into a black limo and driven to Cicero. When they arrived there, Waller was escorted into a saloon, shoved behind a piano, and told to start playing. When he did, he noticed a man whooping and cheering: Capone, who had transformed from a brutal killer to an utter fanboy.

Chicago Detective Bureau
And who, like many fanboys, would fly into a murderous rage
if his entertainment wasn't exactly how he liked it.

Thankfully, the mobsters were in a great mood, so it wasn't long before Waller was allowed to join in the festivities. The wiseguys showered him with champagne and thousands of dollars. The only thing the pianist wasn't allowed to do was leave. Ever the dutiful musician, Waller's show went on. And on. And on. Fats played through his catalog of songs several times as the party went on for days. Eventually, Capone called it a night (or long weekend, in this case) and everyone was allowed to go back home (including Waller).

Alan Fisher / Library of Congress
"This was simultaneously the greatest/most terrifying night of my life."

So, after a final thanks from Al Capone, Waller found himself back outside his hotel three days later, painfully hungover and flush with cash. Or, as musicians call it: Monday.

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1
Osama Bin Laden Put A Hit On Russell Crowe

News Limited

The destruction of art as a terrorist act is a historic tradition. Evil men have often seen art as something that brings hope and inspiration to the people, which threatens their power. So it was only a matter of time before the most evil man of the 21st century, Osama Bin Laden, set out to destroy the most beautiful piece of art man has ever created:

The Motherfucking Gladiator.

Universal Pictures
Bin Laden saw that we were, in fact, highly entertained, and he was not pleased.

In early 2001, when airport body scanners belonged only in dystopian sci-fi movies, Bin Laden was thinking of several plots to destabilize the United States. Spitballing, really -- blue-sky thinking. One of these plans was dubbed the cultural destabilization plan, which was meant to destroy Western culture. The goal was to provide a catalyst for inner turmoil, prompting the nation's citizens to tear each other apart. Al-Qaida would achieve this by kidnapping and assassinating hugely popular and beloved American celebrities. So, naturally, their first target was to be Russell Crowe.

Eva Rinaldi
Pictured: Not an American.

Luckily for Crowe and fans of hotel violence everywhere, a French policewoman caught wind of the plot and alerted the FBI, who in turn warned Crowe that Bin Laden was trying to martyr him out of the zeitgeist. From then on, for several years, the actor didn't attend any award ceremony or Hollywood party without being accompanied by over a dozen federal agents in disguise. Of course, the unflappable Crowe hired a little extra protection of his own, among them a former Australian rugby player who served as his personal bodyguard -- because even a suicide bomber would think twice before running afoul of someone who considers this a game:

YouTube
"We'll stick to the SEALs, shit."

Finally, in 2005, Crowe was clear of the threat and of the FBI, who were reasonably sure Bin Laden by now had other things on his mind than killing the guy who was in A Beautiful Mind. As for Crowe, he said, "I never fully understood what the fuck was going on," which was likely all for the better.

Carolyn's arch-nemesis probably follows her on Twitter.

Zoroastrianism used to be one of the biggest religions in the world, but their idea of heaven had a slight twist on it: to get there you'd have to cross a bridge. Sometimes rickety, sometimes wide and sturdy, if you fell off you'd go to the House of Lies for eternity. Fun! Not terrifying at all! This month, Jack, Dan, and Michael along with comedians Casey Jane Ellison and Ramin Nazer as they discuss their favorite afterlife scenarios from movies, sci-fi and lesser-known religions. Get your tickets here and we'll see you on the other side of the bridge!

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