14 March 2006

Hey Isaac: "Shut Yo' Mouth"

Music legend Isaac Hayes is reported today to have quit Comedy Central's "South Park", where he has voiced "Chef" since its premiere in 1997. The reason? Hayes can no longer stomach its take on religion, which, to say the least, pulls no punches or bodily fluids.

In a statement yesterday, 63-year old Hayes said he feels "a line has been crossed"...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. Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honoured. As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

He's also a devout Scientologist, and obviously had no problem with the show's lampooning of Christianity that began right Matt Stone and Trey Parker's homemade short/pilot "Spirit Of Christmas" (in which JC battles Santa Claus), or Islam (the post-9/11 "Osama Bin Farty Pants"). But it looks like last November's Tom Cruise parody "Trapped In The Closet", with its L. Ron Hubbard digs and "expose" of the religion's more outre beliefs (Operating Thetans), was more than he could tolerate.

Stone responded: "This is 100 per cent having to do with his faith of Scientology. . . He has no problem - and he's cashed plenty of cheques - with our show making fun of Christians." He added that neither he nor 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."

As for Hayes' next role, who knows? Perhaps as Forest Whittaker's brother in that long-awaited "Battlefield Earth" sequel?