Yes, the shifters were pretty sensitive to water, or most any kind of moisture. They can be dried out though and can work fine afterwards, but it can definitely keep the car from shifting out of gear. Everyone who owns one of these should be familiar with the emergency shift interlock disabling procedure, it's described in the owners manual, and can keep you from needing a tow.
Makes you rethink the advantages of having the cupholder mounted right behind the shifter, that's for sure.
The replacement shifters are said to be improved and less suseptable to this problem, but again, usually an hour or less of drying time will usually make it operable. You can use a source of forced warm air or compressed air (hair drier or a blow gun) to speed up the process. Even guys just detailing the interior can manage to lock one up if they're not careful with where they're spraying their cleaners, seen it a few times.