Isaac Hayes Quits "South Park" Over Scientology Row

Renowned soul musician and actor Isaac Hayes, who memorably voiced the role of Chef on "South Park" since 1997, has pulled out of the irreverent satirical cartoon, expressing his disgust for the show's disrespect for religious beliefs.

Hayes, who has become almost as known for his role as Chef (the "South Park" kids' only grown-up confidante) as he is for writing the legendary theme from "Shaft," is also a committed Scientologist. His objections come after "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker ran an episode ridiculing the Scientology faith, which caricatured Hollywood's most famous Scientologist, Tom Cruise.

From the AP: "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.""

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Regardless of the reasons behind Hayes' departure, the character of Chef will surely be missed, along with his soulful singing of songs like "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)" and "The Prostitute Song."

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