Something Rotten in South Park?

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Yesterday, I ran an update on South Park, Tom Cruise and Scientology. In it I mentioned that Isaac Hayes, who provided the voice for Chef, had been reported to have left the program because creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had poked a bit too much fun at Scientology. According to reports all over the MSM and the ‘net, Hayes is alleged to have said:

“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”

I awakened to an article at Fox News that stated that Hayes could not have possibly made that statement. From the mysterious Fox report:

Isaac Hayes did not quit “South Park.” My sources say that someone quit it for him.
I can tell you that Hayes is in no position to have quit anything. Contrary to news reports, the great writer, singer and musician suffered a stroke on Jan. 17. At the time it was said that he was hospitalized and suffering from exhaustion.

Considering my general lack of trust of Fox News and the mystery source involved, I decided to wait a bit and see if additional confirmations of this report surfaced, but they didn’t. After seeing Nick Gillespie run the story, I decided to do likewise. Because my gut tells me that Hayes has been such a vital organ (or at least a reproductive one) of the program for years, this seems a bit out of character.
Now comes this whammy from the Boston Herald:

The 10th season of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series premieres tomorrow night with, of all things, “The Return of Chef.”
Despite the fact that Isaac Hayes quit the show last week, his character takes center stage exhibiting “strange behavior” that prompts Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny to save Chef from causing more damage to South Park.
Who replaces Hayes’ voice? And what happens to the veteran character?
“Tune in Wednesday,” said Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani. “We’re purposely keeping this a little mysterious.”

While it’s possible that a succubus drained the life from Chef, it’s considerably more likely that Hayes did indeed suffer a stroke and then got Sarah Brady-ed by a brainwashed friend or family member. We may get some clues on the program when it airs tomorrow.
Let’s just hope they don’t turn Chef into an overweight white woman with lunch-room-lady facial hair. After all, that’s what they did to Jim Brady.
UPDATE: Another clue in da big mystery.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: Boing Boing is tracking the story as well.