Paula Deen Fired By Food Network After Confessing Use of N-Word
Paula Deen, cooking star and controversy magnet, has been fired by the Food Network, which has opted not to renew Deen’s contract when it expires in July. Deen has been under intense scrutiny after her admission of using racial slurs in the past. The news of her show’s cancelation comes at the end of a volatile day for Deen who shot to stardom in 2002, when her show, Paula’s Home Cooking, premiered on the Food Network.
Earlier this morning, Deen backed out of her appearance on the Today Show, citing exhaustion, and instead released a series of video apologies. “We had arranged to do an interview with Paula Deen… I spoke to her late afternoon on the phone yesterday and we talked about the fact that it would be an open and candid discussion… and this morning… her publicity people have told us that she’s exhausted and will not be joining us today,” Matt Lauer explained at the beginning of the show.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Deen admitted to using racial slurs during her deposition on May 17 in a lawsuit brought against her and her brother, claiming sexual harassment and racial discrimination. When asked if she had ever used the N-word, Deen responded, “Yes, of course.” She continued to defend her use of offensive jokes, saying, “I just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
The lawsuit, brought by former employee Lisa Jackson, alleges that Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, are guilty of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Jackson worked as general manager for five years at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, a restaurant owned by the siblings in Savannah, Ga.
Her comments have, unsurprisingly, angered many and led The Food Network to issue its own statement earlier this week: “The Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
In lieu of a television interview, Deen has released video statements apologizing for her actions. “I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done,” Deen says. “Please forgive me for the mistakes I have made.”