Soul legend Isaac Hayes has quit animated TV series South Park after accusing the show of promoting intolerance and bigotry. Hayes, a Scientologist, has played CHEF on the hit cartoon series since 1997, but feels he can no longer stomach the show's take on religion. He says, "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 begin." The 63-year-old singer released a statement yesterday (13MAR06), severing his ties with the series and controversial co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In it he fumes, "Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honoured. "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices." Stone has fired back at Hayes saying, "This is 100 per cent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem - and he's cashed plenty of cheques - with our show making fun of Christians." Last November (05) South Park satirised the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers in a top-rated episode entitled TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET. In the episode, a cartoon version of Scientologist Tom Cruise locks himself in a closet and refuses to come out. Stone adds that he and 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." Parker has previously said the show had avoided the controversial topic of Scientology out of respect for Hayes and his religious beliefs. He explains, "Finally, we just had to tell Isaac, 'Dude, we totally love working with you, and this is nothing personal, it's just we're South Park, and, if we don't do this, we're belittling everything else we've ripped on.'"
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