March 14, 2006 10:30

Isaac Hayes quits 'South Park'

The soul singer is unhappy at religious gags

Isaac Hayes quits 'South Park'
Soul singer Isaac Hayes has quit cartoon 'South Park' after an episodes lampooning religion.

The star who has provided the voice for character Chef since the show’s inception, has become upset at recent shows that have attacked spirituality.

"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," Hayes said in a statement after he announced he had been asked to be let out of his contract.

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

A recent episode of the programme sent up Tom Cruise and Scientology, which is also Hayes’ religion, although he did not specifically mention that show in his statement.

However 'South Park'’s co-creator Matt Stone declared that the episode – ‘Trapped In The Closet’ – was the reason behind Hayes' move, suggesting his respect for religious beliefs was narrow.

"This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology," Stone told the Associated Press. "He has no problem - and he's cashed plenty of cheques - with our show making fun of Christians."

Producers have yet to decide whether the Chef character will be axed or re-voiced.

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