With the announcement that the Food Network have dropped Paula Deen’s contract and will not be renewing her show it is apparent that her two YouTube apology videos were a case of “too little, too late.”
The first video was an almost tearful apology that didn’t get into specifics. It was heavily edited, either because it required many takes due to Deen’s being too upset to do it in one take, Or at least, that was what the video’s editing was meant to convey.
With the “tearful” rather generic video being taken down and replaced by a longer and less “heartfelt” apology that appeared to be very scripted, Deen was much more composed. Unfortunately the composure didn’t help her to fight her corner of the racism battle.
In essence, when it came to light that the Southern charmer, who exuded bucket loads of faux honey dripped sincerity combined with an unapologetic demeanour, had used the racially inflammatory ‘N’ word to talk about her fellow darker hued homo sapiens, she killed her career as a celebrity cook in one deft blow that was impossible to recover from.
The discrimination lawsuit against the 66 year-old Deen, which was filed in March 2012 by Lisa T. Jackson, the general manager of Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, a restaurant that Ms. Deen owned with her brother, Earl (Bubba) Hiers. Ms. Jackson, who is white, said that her father was Sicilian, with dark skin, and that she had suffered prejudice as a result.
Paula Deen has made a career of combining her Southern charm with an unapologetic attitude about her lifestyle and now that she has “publicly” apologised for her actions, it is too litte, too late. It may have helped her cause a bit, if she’d also apologised for her previous “faux pa.”
Becuase this is not the first time that Deen has upset her staunch fan base, the first was in when in January 2012 when she announced her diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes on the same day that she endorsed the diabetes drug Victoza and a lucrative collaboration with Novo Nordisk, the drug’s manufacturer. She was widely criticised for encouraging an unhealthy diet for others, while first hiding her illness and then trying to profit from it.
It appears that the “one-two” combination of appearing to lie for profit and the admission to using racist terms have delivered a knock-out blow to her financial empire.
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 resides 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. Her magazine “Cooking with Paula Deen,” has a circulation of nearly 1 million, according to her Web site says.
Despite the second video where Deen says, “I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done,” she said, near tears, in a short, edited statement posted on YouTube. “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.”
The removal of her first video, which at least felt more sincere than the first, may well have hurt her in the apology stakes. But the reality of the situation is that once Paula Deen admitted, in the legal deposition, that she’d used the unacceptable word, no matter what she did in the area of “damage control” would be too little, too late.
By Michael Smith