Isaac Hayes is in better shape than Chef.
This, according to Hayes' production company, which denied a report that suggested the "Shaft" soul great had been incapacitated by a stroke and that a mystery person had issued a headline-making denunciation of South Park in his name.
"That's a false report," Amy Harnell of Isaac Hayes Entertainment said Friday.
Specifically, Harnell denied Hayes, 63, suffered a stroke in January. She maintained that, as previously reported, the music legend checked into a hospital in his native Tennessee that month for treatment of high blood pressure and exhaustion.
"He wasn't in the hospital for very long," Harnell said. "He's back on his feet, and doing really well."
Harnell further denied someone other than Hayes was behind a Mar. 13 statement in which the entertainer declared he was leaving South Park, where he'd been the longtime voice of Chef, because of the animated series' "inappropriate ridicule of religious communities." While the statement didn't reference Scientology, it was believed that Hayes, a Scientologist, was taking a stance against a South Park episode that riffed on the religion.
"The press release did come from him," Harnell said. "He is the one who decided to leave South Park."
The stroke and collusion theory was reported Monday by FoxNews.com's Roger Friedman. Friedman wrote that Hayes' friends were "mystified" by the singer's abrupt departure apparently over an episode that first aired four months ago.
Certainly in interviews just prior to his hospitalization, Hayes expressed admiration for South Park's style. "Nobody is exempt from their humor," he said in the New York Daily News on Jan. 12. "Don't be offended by it. If you take it too seriously, you have problems."
It was not known if Hayes took seriously what happened to Chef on Wednesday's South Park season premiere.
In the episode, written by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in the wake of Hayes' resignation, Chef was brainwashed by a group of globe-trotting child molesters--the mere warm-up for the big finish in which the character was struck by lightning, impaled, mauled, shot and finally turned into a Darth Vader-like monster.
Harnell said she didn't know if Hayes tuned in. (About 3.5 million others did.) Generally speaking, Harnell said, Hayes "doesn't have any comment from that episode. Basically, he decided to leave...it behind him."
Currently, Harnell said, Hayes is "totally wrapped up in his baby"--a child "due any minute" with his fourth wife, Adjowa.