Paula Deen Didn´t Get Away with Hate Speech

Ms. Deen´s Empire is painfully crumbling down very quickly

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I love cooking and Ms. Paula Deen has taught me many tips.  Ms. Deen’s Charisma and touch have made her unique and absolutely amazing to watch; you would never have expected that something mean could come out of her mouth, but unfortunately it did. The gastronomy guru crossed the line and didn´t get away with a hate speech. Ms. Deen used the N-word and she was sued for creating a hostile work environment. More allegations have surfaced since the incident. Apparently, she allowed her family to call an African-American employee “my little monkey”.

Since the incident became public, experts, observers, and fans have given their opinion about her career and how this is going to damage her image. In my opinion her career might be far from over, but Ms. Deen´s Empire is painfully, and quickly crumbling down. “Paula Deen will survive, but she will never be whole again”. “She will never make as much more money, she will never have the respect that once had, there are people who will never be in business with her again”, commented vice chaiman of Reputation.com Howard Bragman, for the Huffington Post. According to Forbes her net-worth is estimated at $17 million.

Last Friday Food Network stated that they wouldn´t renew a contract with Ms. Deen; then Smithfield Foods announced that she won´t be their spokeswoman anymore and said “Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen”;And QVC is also reviewing her contract.

According to the law, hate speech is any gesture, conduct, remark, or speech that incites violence or prejudicial action against an individual or group. Furthermore, an ethnic joke is a humorous remark relating to an ethnic, racial or cultural group, often referring to a stereotype.  The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”.

We have to be aware of the consequences of hate speech because it is the root of many maladies of any society. It shouldn´t be tolerated in any household. Although, there is not justification one of the problems in Ms. Paula´s case is that she didn´t distinguished between right and wrong; as the New York Times state; “her great-grandfather had owned at least 30 slaves” in the past. In her defense, she is part of a different era where she grew up in Georgia, where everything was labeled and where the racial distinction was acceptable.

Through social networks the comments are polarizing.  Many people condemn her and others are willing to forgive her and move on from there, but all concur that, what she said was wrong.

Ms. Deen´s career is not over but it is falling down very quickly and there is a valuable lesson for those who discriminate gender, color, race, creed or sexual orientation, it doesn´t matter who you are, it’s just harder to get away with it.

By: Oskar Guzman
Source: Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, New York Times

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