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Isaac Hayes, Chef, Leaving South Park

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Soul singer Isaac Hayes, who provides the voice for Chef on the television series South Park, has announced he is leaving the show in the wake of a controversial episode about the Church of Scientology.

Matt Stone, the series co-creator, said Hayes, a Scientologist, was leaving because of an episode about the church. Stone pointed out that the show had mocked just about every religion around.

The episode, described here, mocked famous Scientologist Tom Cruise and ridiculed those who share his beliefs. The final line of the episode had the character, Stan, saying: “I’m not scared of you. Sue me!”

In a statement announcing he was leaving the series, Hayes did not mention that specific episode.

“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs and others begins,” Hayes said in the statement.

A Google search on Isaac Hayes provides more information about Hayes’ opinion on Scientology. At a site titled WhatIsScientology.org, Hayes is quoted as saying:

“Scientology is the gateway to eternity. It is the path to happiness and total spiritual freedom. Until one has experienced the technology of Scientology it’s unlikely that one will ever experience these wonderful discoveries. I know because it has worked for me. The more time and effort I invest, the more I receive. I highly recommend it.”

The show’s co-creators said they would not block Hayes from leaving the popular series, which is starting its 10th season.

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • fascinating event–boring and uninformative article. Congrats.

    How do people not understand the concept of original blogging yet? You obviously learned of the story from the news, SO WHY RE-TYPE IT IN YOUR OWN WORDS? It’s not like you’re breaking the story or have some inside source at Comedy Central. If you don’t have anything to add, why waste your, and our time like this?

  • Hunter

    Here’s my thoughts on the matter. Hayes has said in a few interviews (the episode aired several months ago) that he wasn’t that offended. I’m convinced, having read many accounts of how the Church of Scientology runs things, that they pretty much forced Hayes’s hand on this issue. As Stone points out, “South Park” is pretty much an equal opportunity offender, even including one episode which condemned both Catholics and athiests at once. If Hayes was geniunely offended, I’m sure he would have resigned immediately if it were his own personal feelings. I’m certain some higher-up in the Scientology organization had a “talk” with the soul singer. It’s no big loss, however, because Chef was becoming less and less of an important part of the show, it’s still a sad situation.

  • Scott Butki

    Hunter: Good point.

    “How do people not understand the concept of original blogging yet?”

    I’ll answer your question with a question:
    How do readers of Blogcritics not understand the concept of this site being not a blog but also a news source, even if that sometimes means reporting news found elsewhere? And I did any my own bit, finding that site via Google.

  • Blogcritics is about news+opinion

    That being said, I can’t imagine South Park without Chef – I guess Xenu did get his revenge after all:)

  • Of course, I forgot to mention, Blogcritics is about multiple opinions, so write your own post with other insights, criticism, requiems for a good character, etc.

  • Blogcritics.org allows different viewpoints of the same story, sometimes expanding on that story. Don’t always take the big guys as being more credible.

  • Great. Too bad, it was essentially word for word the same story the AP put out on the wire this morning. He obviously didn’t interview Hayes or Parker or Stone, so where do you think he got the quotes?

  • A little bit o’ analysis wouldn’t have hurt in this, but Ryan there’s nothing wrong with taking quotes from other sources providing you cite them. Happens all the time.

  • Mr Butki, thank you for bringing this to our attention here at Blogcritics. Isaac Hayes is obviously about half out of his tree- but then, he’s, uh, a Scientologist.

    But that’s hardly going to slow South Park Down. Heck, the gal that played Cartman’s mom and most of the female characters blew her brains out, and they didn’t skip a bit in replacing her.

    One lunch room cook don’t stop no show.

  • I for one learned of this news here…

    Thank the Stars that Cartman isn’t leaving the show!

  • Dynamo of Eternia

    I was talking about this with some people on the discussion boards on he-man.org. Here is what I had to say on the matter (the following is word for word what I wrote there)…

    Well, it stinks that things came down to this, but its really not as big of a loss as it probably would have been several years ago.

    I’ve noticed that Chef has been in the show less and less frequently over the past few years (maybe Isaac’s availability was reduced during this time, or maybe it just had to do with the fact that Matt and Tray tend to finish 99% of each episode at 3 a.m. the night before it airs). But whatever the reason has been, since I’ve gotten used to seeing newer episodes with little or no Chef in them, having him phased out of the show completely isn’t that much of a stretch. If this had happened during the first couple of seasons when Chef was a heavy hitter on the show, then it would have done some damage. But the show has shifted gears quite a bit over the years and has managed to stay fresh, IMO, so I doubt that this will deteriorate the quality of the show on any significant level at this point.

    It is still sad though, but I completely agree with Matt and Tray on how they feel it is a double standard. They have made fun of many different kinds of people on that show over the years, and in some cases they were much more harsh to some groups than they were with the whole Scientology thing, so Isaac’s arguement hold very little water as far as I am concerned. The show pushing the limits is what it is all about, and has been from the beginning. If you are a fan of the show (or even more so, someone who works on it), and you see all of the people and groups that they make fun of, you have to expect that sooner or later they will get around to making fun of something that applies to you. Heck, there was that whole ‘Ginger Kids’ episode a while back which my fiance and I found to be pretty funny, and we are both red heads with fair skin. I wasn’t offended, because it was just par for the course. But apparently Mr. Hayes can’t see the forest through the trees.

  • Dynamo, you should become a Blogcritic and post that as an article

  • Dynamo of Eternia

    Thanks for the compliment, Aaman.

    I only first discovered this blog site last week. Is it possible for someone like myself to become a blog critic? Is there anything special that I would have to do?

    Sorry for my ignorance, but I am just curious and I am not yet very familar with this site. I wouldn’t mind giving something like that a shot given the opportunity.

  • Take a look at this post and contact the publisher, Eric Olsen – you can be a Blogcritic – you just need to set up a personal website or blog

  • Scott Butki

    Yes, great post, Dynamo.

  • Good analysis, Dynamo.

  • Average Douchebag

    Let Isaac Hayes slip into irrelevance, where he belongs.

  • Baronius

    No loss; Chef doesn’t really do anything except sing a little song now and then, which inevitably turns to sex. He’s one-dimensional; no pun intended.

    But what incredible hypocrisy on Hayes’ part! As others have noted, the show offends every religion. The show was based on a “Jesus vs. Santa” skit, and makes fun of Christmas and Jesus regularly. Satan is a recurring character. Judaism doesn’t fare well, thanks to Kyle’s cousin and Cartman’s Nazi fantasies. There’s the sinful Catholic priest, the missionaries in Africa who withhold food from non-converts, et cetera.

    The thing is, I get easily offended by anti-religious comedy, so I turn off the show when they start down that road. The fact that I can remember a dozen examples off the top of my head says something.

    By the way, I’ve heard that the voice of Bart Simpson is also a scientologist. Does anyone recall a Simpsons episode that made fun of scientology?

  • check out this… [Deleted]

  • Scott Butki

    The show is getting their vengence on Chef with the next show

  • reggie von woic

    Return of the chef?
    Oh please!!!

  • i was listneing to the OnA show on XM radio a couple of weeks ago, when they had Isaac Hayes on for an interveiw. during the interview 1 of the callers had asked what he thought of the south park episode that poked fun of his religous philosophy (scientology). the response i heard from Mr hayes was “those guys mat and trey (southpark creators) lampoon everything. and to any1 that takes that stuff seriously; i will sell you
    the brooklyn bridge for 2 dollars” at the time he did not seem to have a problem, and also (to me anyway)it seemed that there was an underlying tone in his voice that he may have already been catching heat from the scientology higher ups(or what ever they are called) for being apart of that show. i feel that the powers that be at the church of scientology had strong armed him into leaving and that he had to publically sound as if he was personally offended.