Does Tom Cruise really have this much pull? And are all Scientologists humorless asswipes?
‘South Park’s’ Chef back — but not Hayes
New season will launch with ‘Return of Chef’
March 21, 2006
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) — Soul singer Isaac Hayes may have quit his job as the voice of Chef on “South Park” after a disagreement over religion, but his character will live on when the satiric cable TV cartoon returns to Comedy Central this week, the network said Monday.
Hayes and his “South Park” alter ego are at the center of an ongoing flap over an episode last November that poked fun at the Church of Scientology and its celebrity adherents, including actor Tom Cruise.
The tenth season of “South Park” will launch Wednesday with a new episode titled “The Return of Chef!”, marking the “triumphant homecoming” of lusty school cafeteria cook James “Chef” McElroy to the show, the network said in a statement.
Hayes, 63, himself a follower of Scientology, surprised producers a week ago by announcing he was leaving the series because he objected to its “inappropriate ridicule” of religion, though he made no reference to the show’s spoof of Scientology last fall.
Two days later, Comedy Central abruptly pulled a scheduled repeat of that episode, titled “Trapped in the Closet.” Sources close to the show said the rerun was canceled after Cruise threatened to boycott promotion of his upcoming film, “Mission: Impossible III,” for sister studio Paramount Pictures.
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