Ed Driscoll

Ohmygod, He Killed Chef! You Bastard!

Isaac Hayes quits South Park after the show boldly goes where no one else in Hollywood has gone before: it made fun of the world’s second-most prickly religion:

“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,” the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

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

“South Park” co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, “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.”

Last November, “South Park” targeted the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, in a top-rated episode called “Trapped in the Closet.” In the episode, Stan, one of the show’s four mischievous fourth graders, is hailed as a reluctant savior by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won’t come out.

Stone told The AP 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.”

Xenuphobia claims yet another victim. Will cartoons of Eric Cartman be burned in response?

Update: Ed Morrissey stirs the pot: “It seems that Chef can’t take what he dishes out”. The E-Meter depicts more on the subject from the tortured thetans within the Pajamas Mothership.

Another Update: Steve Green asks:

Chef is the moral center of the South Park crew – not that that’s saying a whole lot most days. So what will Parker and Stone do without him?

Hire another actor to perform Chef’s voice, or, more than likely, create a whole new Chef character, and poke endless fun at the old Chef and his crack-up.

As one of Captain Ed’s commenters suggests, the new Chef could serve the kids clams at every meal…