Hatred is Not an Isaac Hayes Value: Legendary Singer/Cartoon Voice Quits "South Park" Due to Scientology Intolerance
After 10 years and 150 episodes, Isaac Hayes has finally called it quits on “South Park”. Hayes' character Jerome "Chef" McElroy first appeared in the beloved long-running cartoon in the episode, “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” and since has given us some great moments. He regaled us with tunes like, “Chocolate Salty Balls”, “The Prostitute Song” and his touching love song to Kathy Lee Gifford.
A devout Scientologist, Mr. Hayes quit after the child friendly cartoon took a turn for the intolerant when it aired the episode, “Trapped in the Closet” in which the character Stan is believed to be the reincarnation of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. “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." "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."
“Trapped in the Closet” was the first time South Park creators satirized a religion. They have deliberately stayed away from controversial issues – particularly dealing with religion – out of respect for the faith-based community at large. Among the groups they have not made fun of: Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Jews. Since its debut in 1996, South Park has won praise and an Emmy award for a satirical wit far outstripping most American television shows. Says co-creator Matt Stone, "To bring the civil rights struggle into this is just a non sequitur. Of course, we will release Isaac from his contract and we wish him well."