In a bizarre turn of events after the furor caused by celebrity cook Paula Deen admitting to using the ‘N’ word, her supporters are raging against the Food Network for dropping her contract. Showing that, in the south at least, blood is thicker than political correctness or skin colour. Her fans still think that she’s top of the charm heap.
Since the Food Network made the announcement that they would not be renewing the 66 year-old’s contract for next year, the network Facebook page has been inundated with negative and angry comments. According to the daily news, the Food Network page is getting an average of 10 comments per minute.
Somewhat alarmingly, many of her staunch fans are defending her use of the N-word.
Nancy Bertrand posted on the networks Facebook page, “Food Network … I will NEVER watch your shows anymore! We are talking about a word, not a crime! For this you Fire her? If you can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen!”
Paula Knowles agreed with Bertrand, “I agree Paula you did nothing [wrong]. I think we all used the n word no biggie. My friends who are black use the n word more than I could even imagine.”
The Food Network announced on Saturday night that, “We aren’t commenting any further at this time.” Fans didn’t feel the same and by Sunday morning, the comments continued to be posted.
In the latest post by the network on its Facebook page, a recipe for zucchini casserole drew more than 2,000 comments. Comments that had little to do with the recipe.
Some of the comments listed below are just a sample of the blizzard of protest that the Food Networks action has blown up:
“You politically correct spineless corporate buzzards.”
“Shame on FN for not standing behind Paula Dean for a word she used 27, I repeat 27 years ago. Appalling after what SHE has done for the Food network.”
“Who at our age hasn’t used a word that was totally inappropriate; or told or listened to a joke that was directed towards a race (Pollock, Indians, Red Necks, etc. etc.) Rappers can use whatever language they want and that’s acceptable.”
Another Facebook user Donna Ligon-Pellegrino posted on the wall that the network is now “banned” from her household. She posted on the wall the following comment, “Paula Deen is probably more honest than any of you. She had the guts to be honest and you crucify her. She made a mistake, apologized so everyone needs to get over it.”
The fact that Paula Deen has so many supporters who are ready to lead a revolt against the Food Network and feel that they need to post rage filled comments on the network’s Facebook page is a little alarming.
When the network announced on Friday their decision to drop Deen, whose daytime shows have been a Food Network staple since 2002, it followed on the heels of the revelation that Deen had said under oath that she had used the ‘N’ word. She said, “Yes, of course,” when asked. The celebrity cook did add, “It’s been a very long time.”
Ms Deen turned to YouTube to publicly apologize for her transgressions in the past and posted two videos, although the first “tearful” one was taken down. In the second video she told her fans that, “I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong I have done. I want to learn and grow from this.” She added that, “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable,” she continued.
It was a case of too little too late for the cook as the Food Network rushed to distance themselves from the controversy.
On Sunday morning a ‘We Support Paula Deen” Facebook page had garnered more than 212,000 likes. Another page titled “Bring Back Paula Deen” had more than 14,500 supporters. And another Facebook page, “Boycott the Food Network,” had more than 8,200.
It appears that at least some of the enraged fans think that Ms Deen was tarred and feathered without any sort of “due process” and that the decision was a knee jerk reaction to the bad press the admission generated.
Outside Deen’s downtown Savannah, Ga., restaurant, The Lady and Sons, another fan, Marilynne Wilson, said she was outraged by the network’s decision. Wilson went on to say, “I was shocked. I thought she’d get a fair trial. I think the Food Network jumped the gun.”
But not everyone agrees that Paula Deen was unjustly treated, another customer of Deen’s restaurant, Felipe Alexander, said that although he didn’t think that her business would suffer, he felt that the network had the right to let her go.
He said, “If you look at her restaurant here, I don’t think it’s going to hurt her too much.” He added,
“If the network didn’t want to be associated with somebody who used that word, it has the right to do that.”
Taking all the Facebook “Likes” and posts of supporter rage for Paula Deen against the Food Network, it appears that, in the south at least, political correctness isn’t the order of the day. But then, those of us who come from the South, knew that already. One can only hope that one day, everyone will be “singing from the same hymn book.”
By Michael Smith