Last week, Deen released two video statements apologizing for her behavior, but that attempt at damage control failed to save her jobs.
“Paula Deen’s celebrity isn’t simply about her food. It was also about her being the loving mom/grandma people admired,” Eric Martin, a partner at branding firm Boost Partners, told Courtney Reagan of CNBC. “She had celebrity for being a nice, decent, giving person. Using racial slurs, no matter where one is from, but particularly in the South, strikes at the very heart of that image.”
Deen’s sons have weighed in defending their mama, asserting that she’s not racist but rather the victim of a former employee who wants to score a huge settlement. “I’m disgusted by the entire thing, because it began as extortion and it has become character assassination,” Bobby Deen told CNN.
When asked by Lauer if she wished she had lied about using the language, Deen said no, she didn’t want to lie under oath. Deen tearfully challenged that if there is anyone out there who has never said something that they wish they could take back that person should pick up a stone and throw it at her head. “I is what I is,” she said. “And I’m not changing. . . There’s someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for and they wanted it.”
Color of Money Question of the Week
Was it fair for some of Paula Deen’s business partners to drop her for racial slurs made in the past? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Paula Deen’s Food Empire Takes a Financial Hit” in the subject line, and include your full name, city and state. You can also tweet your responses to @singletarym or @moneyquest.
As you probably know, many people are living paycheck to paycheck. According to a survey by Bankrate.com, that’s a too common scenario for American households.
Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 76 percent said that they don’t have an emergency account to cover necessities such as mortgage and medical needs. Fifty percent have less than a three-month cushion and 27 percent had no savings at all, reports Angela Johnson and CNN Money.
“It’s disappointing,” said Bankrate.com senior financial analyst Greg McBride. “Nothing helps you sleep better at night than knowing you have money tucked away for unplanned expenses.”
If you are having trouble figuring out how to save, here are some tips from MSN.com.
Ban the Box
As I wrote in a previous column, I’m particularly interested in the outcome of lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against BMW and Dollar General. The companies are accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by using information from criminal justice histories to screen employees, which has had a disparate impact on black and Hispanic workers and job applicants.
For last week’s Color of Money Question, I asked: “Do you think the questions about criminal convictions should be removed from job applications?”
“I believe that the ‘box’ should be removed from job applications,” wrote Stacey Thomas of Chambersburg, Pa. “Everyone deserves a second chance; my husband has a record, but he has changed, been looking for work for about three years now. Every time he puts in an application he marks it. He hardly ever gets a call for an interview, and if he does, after the interview he never hears back. It’s ridiculous. This would make an ex-criminal go back to committing crimes because they need to live somehow. We have four children, and it’s hard for me to do it all alone. The ‘box’ needs to go.”
“As a middle-class white dude living in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, I support banning the box. Decisions made from inexperience, naivete, or irresponsibility at an early age should not haunt someone for the rest of their life,” said Dan Larsen of Reston, Va.
Wrote Eunice Dixon of New Orleans: “I am in favor of employers conducting criminal background checks. Though I feel that this should encompass a question where individuals self-report past offenses, I do think judgments made based on those responses should be thoroughly considered before denying an applicant employment.”
Rhonda Gaines wrote on Facebook: “If everyone had an honest and thorough excavation of their past, they might acknowledge choices that could have earned them a conviction. If we don’t fix our broken systems, we all suffer! Allow people the chance to change. No one was convicted on Wall Street. Oh, that must mean they are good honest people…”
Tia Lewis contributed to this report.
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or email@example.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to postbusiness.com.