Isaac Hayes has quit South Park over unspecified "intolerance and bigotry" at the cartoon. "Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored," the "Chef" actor said in a statement.
South Park co-creator Matt Stone traces Hayes' ire to the show's November "Trapped In the Closet" episode, which mocked the Church of Scientology. Stone tells the Associated Press, "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 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."
Bill Donohue goes crazier than ever.
So I guess this nixes my next movie project: That remake of Rosemary's Baby with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in the Cassavetes/Farrow roles and Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, John Travolta and the rest of the COS bigwigs playing the members of the coven.
Update: This is not the first time Hayes has addressed "Trapped In the Closet." In this December interview with CNN's A.J. Hammer, Hayes says "No" five times when Hammer asks if the Scientology episode had anything to do with Chef's absence from the show: "I'm still in the wings, so I'm here," Hayes says. "They do what they do… And I'm sure—I'm sure I'll show up eventually… The episode, I didn't see it but I was told about it. But they lampoon everybody. And if you believe them, you got a problem."
Make what you will of that. I think A.J. Hammer is just a poor man's A.J. Benza.
Up-Update: And Chef had this to say to The Onion's AV Club in January:
Well, I talked to Matt and Trey about that. They didn't let me know until it was done. I said, "Guys, you have it all wrong. We're not like that. I know that's your thing, but get your information correct, because somebody might believe that shit, you know?" But I understand what they're doing. I told them to take a couple of Scientology courses, and understand what we do. [Laughs.]
Jacob Sullum took a ringside seat at the Stone/Sean Penn mud wrestle over voting.
The Reason puppetmasters lifted Brian Doherty's thumbs way up for Team America: World Police.
Way back in Old '96, David Post expored the cyberiffic sensations as the Church of Scientology sued an apostate for posting holy write online.