- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

Chef skewers ‘Park’

Isaac Hayes has quit “South Park,” saying he can no longer stomach its take on religion.

Mr. Hayes, who has voiced the ladies’ man/school cook Chef in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said yesterday that he feels a line has been crossed.

“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward 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 Associated Press, 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.”

In 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 the cartoon Mr. Cruise locks himself in a closet and won’t come out.

Mr. Stone told 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.”

Grave matters

Several renowned psychics and mediums will attempt to summon the spirit of the late John Lennon through a seance airing live April 24 on cable’s In Demand Pay-Per-View.

No, we aren’t kidding.

The program, “The Spirit of John Lennon,” also will feature visits by the soothsayers to several sites that were important to the ex-Beatle, including the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles; the small town in India he visited during a spiritual retreat; and the Dakota Apartments in New York, where Mr. Lennon lived and was fatally shot in December 1980. The psychic in New York also will spend time at the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, where he believes he will make contact with Mr. Lennon’s spirit.

The event, which organizers say is being produced “without the knowledge or consent of John Lennon’s estate,” will feature “state of the art infra-red cameras for the entire seance, providing the ability to capture any presence or spirit that enters the room.”

For more information and to view a trailer of the seance, log on to www.spiritoflennon.com.

Sounding off

Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon says harassing fans, such as those who threw bottles at the band during a Danish music festival, are “the very people we hate the most.”

Mr. Lydon, known as Johnny Rotten in the iconic ‘70s British punk band, also panned animal activists and the anti-abortion movement during his appearance Friday on band mate Steve Jones’ radio show, “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” AP reports.

“We’re Sex Pistols; we ain’t fake,” Mr. Lydon said.

“And we don’t care,” Mr. Jones replied.

Later on, Mr. Lydon reflected on the band’s heyday, quick breakup and 1996 world reunion tour but said he couldn’t do it again, citing stage fright and infighting.

“I miss the Sex Pistols. I miss the lot of you,” he said. “But if anybody thinks it’s a jolly good wheeze, it’s not. It’s hard work.”

The group, which disbanded in 1977, is among this year’s inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The induction ceremony was held last night at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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