Some supporters of cooking show host Paula Deen defended their favorite Southern chef this week after the Food Network announced that her contract would not be renewed. The Food Network made the decision after Deen admitted that she had used racial slurs in a deposition:
“I was shocked. I thought she’d get a fair trial,” Wilson, a nurse from Jacksonville, Fla., said Saturday after stopping to buy souvenirs at the gift shop Deen owns next to her Savannah restaurant. “I think the Food Network jumped the gun.”
A day after announcing that it’s dropping Deen from its roster of celebrity cooks, the cable network was served heaping portions of Southern fried outrage by her fans.
Angry messages piled up Saturday on the network’s Facebook page, with many Deen fans threatening to change the channel for good. “So good-bye Food Network,” one viewer wrote. “I hope you fold like an accordion!!!” . . .
Deen and her brother are being sued by a former manager of their restaurant who says she was harassed and worked in an environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs.
Wilson’s friend Debbie Brown said the Food Network is “basically convicting” Deen. “They should have waited until it goes to court,” she said.
Deen apologized profusely last week:
Issuing her third apology in three days, Paula Deen released a short but choppy video online Friday afternoon expressing regrets for having used racial slurs in the past. The Food Network star appeared genuinely regretful and rattled by the torrent of criticism she has received this week. She appears to be talking off the top of the head, not from a script; four separate takes are edited together for the mere 46-second video.
Apparently, executives at the Food Network were not mollified:
The 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed Deen told an attorney questioning her under oath last month that she has used the N-word. “Yes, of course,” Deen said, though she added, “It’s been a very long time.”
The Food Network, which made Deen a star with “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2002, weighed in with a terse statement Friday afternoon.
“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month,” the statement said. Network representatives declined to comment further.
Deen will appear on the “Today” show Wednesday after canceling an earlier scheduled appearance.