Paula Deen, the celebrity Southern Belle chef who on Wednesday acknowledged that she used the ‘N’ word in reference to black people in a court deposition has taped a video apology for the racial slur and begs everyone’s forgiveness. The television cook is a regular fixture on the Food Network and the Today show. We have included the apology video below.
In the clip, 66 year-old Deen appears visibly upset and looks to be close to tears several times during the video. The apology has been been heavily edited because of possible multiple takes and posted on YouTube, apparently to replace the cancelled live appearance on the Today show.
In the video, 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.”
She finishes her statement by saying,”I beg for your forgiveness … please forgive me for the mistakes that I’ve made.”
Her apology follows widespread criticism this week over her statement in a deposition for a discrimination lawsuit by a former employee. In the deposition, she said that she had used racial slurs, tolerated racist jokes and condoned pornography in the workplace.
While some people may see her taped apology as only addressing the issue of inappropriate racial language, it does appear to be a sort of “all-encompassing” apology.
Ms Deen did not appear as scheduled on the Friday edition of the Today show where she was to be giving an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer. Deen had agreed to the interview, which was heavily advertised on NBC News Thursday night as a means to address the uproar generated this week by her in-court statements.
Matt Lauer took to Twitter to let fans know that Deen wasn’t appearing. He tweeted, “We just found out she’s a no-show,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hoping to get more info on the Paula Deen situation soon. Very confusing.”
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.
But Ms. Deen managed to upset her most stalwart fans once before, when in January 2012 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. The reason? She’s built her career on a no-holds-barred approach to sugar and fat (creating recipes like a cheeseburger patty sandwiched between two doughnuts and a Better than Sex cake made with cake mix, pudding mix, and heavy cream), she was widely criticised for encouraging an unhealthy diet for others, while first hiding her illness and then trying to profit from it.
On Thursday, widespread criticism of her statements about race flooded the social network, Twitter, with users inventing a Paula Deen specific hashtag #paulasbestdishes and remarks were left on Ms. Deen’s own Facebook page.
The lawsuit against her 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.
In the deposition, Ms. Deen said that she had used a racial slur in the past, though not in the restaurant, and that she and her family did not tolerate prejudice. “Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is” or what gender a person is, she said. “It’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us.”
Apparently, the usually unapologetic TV cook and restauranteur wasn’t prepared for the backlash that her admission would cause. With Paula Deen taping a video apology for the racial slur and posting it on YouTube, she is trying to set things right with her customers and fans. We have put the video below so you can see what she has said.
By Michael Smith