Food Network to drop Paula Deen amid racial slur controversy
(Warning: contains graphic language in sixth paragraph)
The Food Network said on Friday it will drop celebrity chef Paula Deen after the Southern food doyenne was sued for racial discrimination and admitted in a legal deposition to using a racial slur in the past.
“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month,” the network said in a statement.
The network’s decision was announced within hours of Deen apologizing on video for “the wrong that I’ve done” and begging for forgiveness.
Deen, who has two popular shows on The Food Network featuring Southern cooking, appeared in at least two videos released after she failed to make a scheduled appearance on the NBC morning TV show “Today” on Friday to discuss the issue.
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done. I want to learn and grow from this,” Deen said in one video posted on YouTube and other sites.
Deen, a white native of Georgia, was asked in a deposition released in transcript form this week if she had used the “N-word,” and responded, “Yes, of course.” The “N-word” is a euphemism for “nigger,” an epithet for black people.
A former employee of Paula Deen Enterprises, Lisa Jackson, is suing Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers, alleging racial and sexual discrimination in the workplace. The deposition was related to the suit.
(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem and David Beasley in Atlanta; Editing by Jim Loney, David Storey and Leslie Gevirtz)