Paula Deen begs for forgiveness, still dropped by Food Network
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Paula Deen begged for forgiveness, but the Food Network apparently decided sorry wasn’t good enough.
On Friday — the same day the celebrity chef apologized for using the N-word and other admitted racial insensitivities in her past — the cable network announced it was kicking her out of the kitchen.
“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month,” the network wrote in a brief statement.
Deen, 66, is the host of “Paula’s Best Dishes,” and Food Network also airs two of her previous series in reruns. It was unclear whether the network would continue running past episodes.
“We have nothing more to add at the moment,” a spokeswoman told The Times. As of midafternoon, Deen’s name still appeared prominently on the Food Network website.
The Georgia-born chef has been, along with fellow Food Network hosts Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri, a key player behind the explosion of popular culinary TV shows. But she has also been criticized for promoting high-calorie and fried foods to consumers. Last year, she revealed she suffers from Type 2 diabetes, which doctors have long associated with unhealthful eating habits.
Friday started on a sour note for Deen and quickly turned worse. She failed to appear for an early-morning interview with NBC’s “Today,” where she was scheduled to discuss the controversy that has erupted over a videotaped deposition last month. Deen is being sued by the former manager of a restaurant she owned with her brother. “Today” co-host Matt Lauer mentioned Deen’s no-show on the air and later, on Twitter, called the situation “very confusing.”
Under sworn testimony, Deen revealed that “of course” she had used the N-word to describe black people in the past and also said she had planned a wedding party in which black wait staff were to be attired as antebellum slaves. The deposition also revealed that Deen had allowed pornographic pictures to be passed around as a joke in the workplace.
Deen said she was not a racist but, at least in the deposition, made no apology for making racial jokes: “It’s just what they are — they’re jokes … most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks.... I can’t determine what offends another person.”
By midday Friday — after a storm had raged around her all week — Deen issued an impassioned plea for forgiveness on YouTube.
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done,” she said in the video. “I want to learn and grow from this.... Inappropriate 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. Please forgive me for the mistakes that I’ve made.”
But by midday, users who tried to access the apology received the message: “This video has been removed by the user.”
A spokeswoman for Deen was not immediately available.
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