Isaac Hayes quits South Park

Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef on Comedy Central’s South Park, has quit the show saying he can no longer stomach its take on religion.

“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

“Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored,” he continued. “As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.”

The shows co-creator Matt Stone responded by saying, “This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology… He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.”

Stone says that he and co-creator Trey Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin.”

In an interview published in GQ earlier this year Trey Parker said, “To be honest, what kept us from [parodying Scientology] before was Isaac Hayes. We knew he is a Scientologist and he’s an awesome guy. We were like, ‘Let’s just avoid that for now.’ … Finally, we just had to tell Isaac, ‘Dude, we totally love working with you and this is nothing personal, it’s just we’re “South Park,” and if we don’t do this, we’re belittling everything else we’ve ripped on.’ “

It’s a shame to see Isaac Hayes and Chef leaving the South Park world. Chef added a much needed grounding stone to the oddities of the South Park world.

24 thoughts on “Isaac Hayes quits South Park

  1. Had Hayes simply said, “As you all know, I am a devout Scientologist and I feel that I cannot in good conscience continue participating in a television show that mocks my spiritual beliefs,” then his decision to leave the show at this time would be perfectly respectable. Fans of “South Park” would understandably be upset, but the decision would be Hayes’ to make.

    However, with this comment:

    “Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored,

  2. For crying out loud, wasn’t their VERY FIRST video “Jesus vs. Santa”??  If it had been L. Ron Hubbard in the smackdown, would he ever have gone near the show?

  3. That Hayes,
    He’s a complicated man, and no one understand him but his woman.  Isaac Hayes.

  4. I hate to see Chef go; even if the character stayed, it does take away that extra little element of Chef=Shaft. Ah, well. It’s a shame that Hayes can’t see the stupidity in his comment.

  5. Oh, I don’t think Chef the character is going anywhere.  Hell, I’m a honky who can do a pretty passable imitation of Hayes’ voice; who’s to say they can’t find someone else who’d do it even more spot on?  They had to recast most of the adult female roles on the show when the original one committed suicide right after the movie.  The only person who’s really going to suffer for this decision, which was likely not even his, will be Isaac Hayes.  And in the words of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

  6. Had Hayes simply said, “As you all know, I am a devout Scientologist and I feel that I cannot in good conscience continue participating in a television show that mocks my spiritual beliefs,

  7. Stone says that he and co-creator Trey Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin.

  8. And here’s the *really* annoying part.  Comedy Central has pulled the rerun of the episode that led Hayes to leave, because (wtf?) Tom Cruise put pressure on parent company Viacom.

    I’m not a South Park fan, but, yeesh.

  9. OB, I believe it’s because their beliefs are ridiculous that their warfare tactics have to be insane.  Otherwise, Scientology would not merit any more interest than the alcohol-and-barbituate induced ramblings of a second-rate science fiction has-been.  Whoops, that’s what Scientology is.

  10. the alcohol-and-barbituate induced ramblings of a second-rate science fiction has-been.  Whoops, that’s what Scientology is.

    LOL True dat!

    My best friend and I were discussing this story yesterday, and she said, “You HAVE to go and check out the Operation Clambake site!”  I told her that I’ve had an eye on it for years already, and said, “It’s just one of the reasons I’m so vehemently against religion…”

    Her response was, “Oh, but Scientology’s not a religion, it’s a CULT!”  Since she’s still a Christian, she sees a distinction between the two labels.  I, however, do not.  The same horror, brainwashing and “evil” she sees in Scientology, I see in Calvary Chapel and most of the other Christ Cults; and more than once she and I have discussed that MY opinion of HER beliefs in Jesus and the Resurrection is that they are no more or less “insane” than Scientologists’ beliefs in Xenu, Body Thetans and all the other crazy shit they cite as “facts” in support of their particular delusions.

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s press release declaring war on the Scientologists is just fucking priceless.  I anticipate the battle that’s likely to ensue will provide them with enough material for comedy and satire to keep us entertained for years!

    That is, unless they’re taken out by the Org. wink

  11. I also fail to see any real difference between Christianity and Scientology as far as “legitimate” religions go. To my mind they are both cults.

    On a related note, Tom Cruise just keeps on making my shit list. Is it me, or has he really started to let his mental faculties go after becoming involved with Katie? I mean, he’s never exactly struck me as a thoughtful, balanced individual, yet after meeting Katie it’s like he’s gone out of his way to make an even bigger ass of himself than ever before (or at least his exploits have become more highly publicized than they may have been in the past).

  12. We need to watch to see which of the highly vocal supporters of the publishing, in several European newspapers, of cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed, citing “the right to free speech” in their arguments, will get involved in this one. If it’s OK for Islam, it’s OK for Scientology, right? Let’s have free speech, by all means, but if it is going to free then let’s not exclude anybody from the possibility of ridicule.
      I personally have no problem at all with South Park lampooning Scientology except to say that it’s a pretty easy target! This is a larger issue though and the USA needs to be careful. There’s so much anti-American feeling in the world right now that if parts of the American media are seen to be censoring a programme because it pokes fun at a “religion” just because a famous actor or two throws his toys out of his pram then the Islamic world (and anyone else who had a problem with the “Mohammed cartoons”) can quite rightly stand up and say “Ein minuten, bitte!”, to quote Eddie Izzard. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would end there.

  13. A couple things distinguish Scientology from Christianity, cult-wise.  One is secrecy.  Scientology has ‘deep secrets’ it only reveals to those who have ascended to higher levels.  The other is a money requirement – you can only reach those ‘higher levels’ by paying out money.  That is not usually the case at your corner church.  Yes, they pass the plate and have fund drives, but like Public Television you can still watch the show even if you don’t donate, and if you make real pretty religious noises, you can go up as high as you wish in the organization.

    But the main distinguishing feature of a cult is the singular focus on a monolithic organization or a charismatic person.  There are Christian cults but by that measure Scientology wins, hands-down.

    The Catholic Church fits somewhat into the frame of a ‘Christian cult’ but they are far more inclusive than Scientology, and again, you can be Catholic your whole life without forking over wads of cash.  And Catholic theology is open to everyone who wishes to study it.

  14. Scientology has ‘deep secrets’ it only reveals to those who have ascended to higher levels.

    It’s a moot point how many ‘deep secrets’ are left, after former high officials blabbed about Xenu and the Body Thetans, which had been deep secrets (I know I would have kept them secret, if it had been my religion).  But who knows?  Maybe Tom Cruise?

    And Catholic theology is open to everyone who wishes to study it.

    Hey, so is Scientolotheology.  I know that old copy of Dianetics is lying around here somewhere, and you can probably find a DVD of Battlefield Earth on ebay…

  15. Anyone notice the similarities in militancy between Scientologists and the Fosterites in Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land?

  16. elwed- Indeed.  Remember when being “clear” (available for the pittance of $5000) was as high as you could go in Scientology?

    GM- militancy, yes; but as far as I know, Scientologists don’t go in for orgiastic line dances…  Or maybe that’s the next secret.

    DoF- I don’t know who Nehemiah Scudder is.  Do I want to know?  Life is hard enough…

  17. For Nehemiah Scudder refer to Robert A. Heinlein’s fictional work “Stranger in a Strange Land.” But also technically other works such as “Revolt in 2100,” where a theocratic revolution has turned the United States inside out and underground groups that hate the Prophet’s theocracy plot to overthrow the hateful government.

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