The Food Network announced today that it has dropped Paula Deen’s contract. The news comes in light of revelations this week that the celebrity chef had used racially derogatory remarks. Earlier today, Deen had issued a video apology for the terms she had used:
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done. I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners, I beg for your forgiveness,” Dean said.
The apology referenced a law suit filed by a former employee of Deen’s who alleges the star harassed her and used racial epithets against her. The suit also alleges sexual and racial harassment by Deen’s brother, Bubba Hier.
In a deposition that Deen’s lawyers made public, Deen admits to using the “N word.”
She was contrite in her apology, saying “My family and I are not the kind of people the press are wanting to say we are…Your color, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me. But it’s what’s in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that.”
Apparently, though, her change of heart is not going to fly with Food Network execs, who announced that they were dropping her contract. They issued a statement about the situation earlier today.
“Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion,” they said.
Deen’s company, seemingly in an attempt to run damage control, spoke out in her defense, saying:
“She was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today.”
While that may be true, her dismissal from the Food Network appears to make it apparent that society expects even 60 year old Southerners to join the 21st century, and that free speech does not mean people can say whatever they want without facing any consequences.
When Deen had been asked if she had ever used the N Word, she said “yes, of course.” She acknowledged that she has also used the word when repeating things others had said. She was asked whether she had used the term in reference to her employees, to which she replied:
“No because that’s not what these men were; they were professional black men doing a fabulous job.”
Additional offensive comments by Deen center around slavery: “I would say that they were slaves but I did not mean anything derogatory by saying I loved their look and their professionalism.” This comment was in reference to Deen’s plans for a plantation-style theme wedding for brother.
It looks like Deen being dropped from the Food Network has landed her in some very hot water indeed. What will she do next? Readers, time to weigh in with your reactions. Did Food Network make the right decision?
By: Rebecca Savastio
Source: CNN video