With the announcement on Friday that the Food Network was letting Paula Deen go from their roster of shows, it appears that they are attempting to distance itself from Deen as much as possible. The network is probably concerned that the Deen “racial” tempest could reflect badly on them.
The announcement from the network came barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted a second videotaped apology online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.
The Food Network statement on Friday did not elaborate on the reasons for dropping Deen, but according to a source close to the network the shows that feature her sons, Jamie and Bobby, would not be affected. Ms. Deen currently has three regular programs on the network, including “Paula’s Best Dishes.”
Even though it was not specified in the Food Network statement, it is clear that the 66 year-old celebrity cook was fired Friday afternoon by the network over her admission in a court deposition that she had used a racial the ‘N’ word and other racially charged and offensive comments. Distancing the network from Deen appears to be their top priority.
The Food Network made Deen a star with Paula’s Home Cooking in 2002 and later Paula’s Home Cooking in 2008, weighed released the short statement cancelling her contract on Friday afternoon. “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month,” Network representatives declined further comment.
Paula Ann Hiers Deen, or Paula Deen to her fans, is an American cook, cooking show host, restaurateur, author, actress and an Emmy Award-winning television personality. Deen lives in Savannah, Georgia, where she owns and runs The Lady & Sons restaurant with her two sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen. She has published fourteen cookbooks and her magazine Cooking with Paula Deen, has a circulation of nearly 1 million, according to her Web site.
On top of the racial admission ,Deen also allegedly said in the deposition , that she approved of racial jokes, sexual jokes and pornography in the workplace.
The network statement of Deen’s dismissal came at the end of a day filled with outrage that swamped social networking sites like Twitter and spread like wildfire across the internet.
The 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed Deen responded to an attorney questioning her under oath that she has used the ‘N’ word. “Yes, of course,” Deen said, although she did add, “It’s been a very long time.”
At the start of Friday, Deen cancelled her planned appearance on the Today show through her representative with no explanation. Later in her second video she apologised to host Matt Lauer and said that her excuse was exhaustion and that she was genuinely sorry.
Later in the day, the 66 year-old “Queen of Southern Cooking” did two videos and posted them on Google’s YouTube. Although later she withdrew the first video and replaced it with a more “controlled” delivery in an effort of “damage control.”
This was followed by the Food Network announcement that Deen had been dropped from the roster of shows on the network. It is more than obvious that the network is distancing itself from Deen. Despite her, somewhat desperate, attempts at redemption via her apology videos, Food Network does not want to forgive nor forget, her transgression.
By Michael Smith