Racial slur costs Paula Deen big time

TV chef dropped by Food Network, department store chain and buffet restaurants
Associated Press
Jun 26, 2013

Paula Deen was dropped by Wal-Mart and her name was stripped from four buffet restaurants on Wednesday, hours after she went on television and tearfully defended herself amid the mounting fallout over her admission of using a racial slur.

The story has become both a day-by-day struggle by a successful businesswoman to keep her career afloat and an object lesson on the level of tolerance and forgiveness in society for being caught making an insensitive remark.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Wednesday that it ended its relationship with Deen and will not place "any new orders beyond what's already committed."

Caesars Entertainment Corp. said it had been "mutually decided" with Deen to remove her name from its restaurants in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind.

At the same time, Deen's representatives released letters of support from nine companies that do business with the chef and promised to continue. There's evidence that a backlash is growing against the Food Network, which tersely announced last Friday that it was cutting ties with one of its stars.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Deen had called him and he agreed to help her, saying she shouldn't become a sacrificial lamb over the issue of racial intolerance.

"What she did was wrong, but she can change," Jackson said.

During a deposition in a discrimination lawsuit filed by an ex-employee, the chef, who specializes in Southern comfort food, admitted to using the N-word in the past. The lawsuit also accuses Deen of using the slur when planning her brother's 2007 wedding, saying she wanted black servers in white coats, shorts and bow ties for a "Southern plantation-style wedding."

Deen said she didn't recall using the word "plantation" and denied using the N-word to describe waiters. She said she quickly dismissed the idea of having all black servers.

Deen told Matt Lauer on "Today" on Wednesday that she could only recall using the N-word once. She said she remembered using it when retelling a story about when she was held at gunpoint by a robber who was black while working as a bank teller in the 1980s in Georgia.

In the deposition, she also said she may also have used the slur when recalling conversations between black employees at her restaurants. Asked in the deposition if she had used the word more than once, she said, "I'm sure I have, but it's been a very long time."

Her "Today" show appearance was a do-over from last Friday, when Deen didn't show up for a promised and promoted interview. Deen told Lauer she had been overwhelmed last week. She said she was heartbroken by the controversy and she wasn't a racist.

"I've had to hold friends in my arms while they've sobbed because they know what's been said about me is not true and I'm having to comfort them," she said.

Looking distressed and with her voice breaking, Deen said if there was someone in the audience who had never said something they wished they could take back, "please pick up that stone and throw it as hard at my head so it kills me. I want to meet you. I want to meet you." It's an apparent reference to the Biblical passage about whether a woman guilty of adultery should be stoned: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

"I is what I is and I'm not changing," Deen said. "There's someone evil out there that saw what I worked for and wanted it."

An uncomfortable Lauer tried to end the interview, but Deen repeated that anyone who hasn't sinned should attack her.

Asked by Lauer whether she had any doubt that blacks consider use of the N-word offensive, Deen said: "I don't know, Matt. I have asked myself that so many times, because it is so distressing to go into my kitchen and hear" what some young people are telling each other.

Deen said she appreciated fans who have expressed anger at the Food Network for dropping her, but said she didn't support a boycott of the network. Through social media, the network has been attacked by people who said executives there acted in haste to get rid of Deen.

Save for the brief announcement late Friday that it wasn't renewing Deen's contract, Food Network executives have refused to discuss the case publicly, or say whether the network plans to address Deen's fans. There have been online reports that the Food Network removed Deen's programs from the air as early as Saturday; the network wouldn't speak about what it has or hasn't put on the air.

Starting last weekend, there has been a steady erosion of support for the network. The YouGov Brandindex, a measurement of how consumers perceive a particular company or product, said the Food Network's score — which had been generally positive — had dropped by 82 percent in a week. The network has a negative image in the South and West, spokesman Drew Kerr said.

Deen's case has also attracted some odd bedfellows. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck said the network has "contributed to the growing un-American atmosphere of fear and silence. Hello, Joseph McCarthy."

Meanwhile, liberal HBO host Bill Maher also said Deen shouldn't lose her show. "It's a wrong word, she's wrong to use it," he said. "But do we really have to make people go away?"

The Food Channel, a food marketing agency based in Springfield, Mo., said it has been flooded with angry messages from people mistaking the company for the Food Network. There have been so many that the agency posted a message to Deen on its website that it would be happy to work with her if possible.

Among the companies expressing support for her via her representatives was Club Marketing Services in Bentonville, Ark., which helps companies sell products at Wal-Mart, and Epicurean Butter.

 

Comments

Simple Enough II

Well, this story as it keeps dragging out sure has worked. The focus is on Paula Dean instead of Benghazi, A screwed up immigration free pass bill, the Prism program and our Commander in Thief & family on a rock n roll tour of africa that could cost upwards of $100 million. Nice rebound "unbiased" media!

Blues

Wag the dog...:) Some see it, most don't.

kURTje

Paula & porn ....

Contango

Yet rap singers use THE word AND WORSE and make millions. Double standard.

John Lennon wrote a song: "Woman is the (blank) of the World."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O...

We're a far cry from comedian Lenny Bruce who believed that over time, that the repeated use of a word will diminish it's effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S...

Paula Deen is worth an estimated $10M. I ain't crying too hard. :)

phroggy

Well, in Sandusky, the word is relevant. Meanwhile, her cookbooks are selling like crazy. I dig her.

Contango

Check out her son's steak fries:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recip...

EASY & TASTY!!!

Erie Countian

Everyone of every color has said or done things we regret, but Paula Deen has been on this earth long enough to know that there are certain things you just cannot and should not say or do! Even if she said these things, say maybe 25 years ago, it was well after the days when use of the N-word was somehow "acceptable" in the South or anywhere else, for that matter! I'm white, and was a little child during the early 1960's and during the beginnings of the Civil Rights struggles. My parents taught me even way back then NEVER to use the N-word. Paula Deen, who is older than I, was also around back in those days. She lived through that time in the segregated South and surely saw the painful struggles of citizens to overcome oppression and gain dignity. How anyone with any true compassion or respect could STILL use the N-word, even years later, is beyond me! I believe if you can use that word without thought or even remotely entertain the idea of having men dress as "plantation workers" at a party, you are indeed racist in your heart. I personally don't understand the use of the N-word by some African Americans, either by black performers or between themselves...never have figured out why they would still want to use or hear such a hateful word that they would condemn others for using! All I know is, I never have and never will use that word, and I taught my own children never to do so, either.

deertracker

Let me explain it to you. Black people, and young people have given the word a totally different meaning. If you take the so called power from the word it no longer has the negative connotation attached. Most people I know use it as a term of endearment that is why some may hear it during a neighborhood basketball game. Like you, I just choose not to use the word and since my kids grew up almost never hearing it at home, they don't get all bothered by it either. I always taught them that no one is defined by slurs and it says more about the person using them and to let those type of things roll off easily.

Erie Countian

Thank you, Deertracker. It's interesting to read and learn from your point of view.

happycamper01

The problem with that is that when they continue to use that horrible word it doesn't take the power away as you stated. When it is heard it still means the same thing to most people not of color, regardless of who is saying it so it just adds fuel to prejudice and discrimination. It only continues to give it power because of it's original meaning, especially to those of us who refuse to use it because it is a racial slur. It is not okay for ANYONE to use that word and for anyone to make excuses that it is okay just because they are THE race that is was used against is ignorant. If black Americans, and I say black because they are not all from Africa, don't want people not of their race to not use that word and to respect them then they need to stop using it themselves. It can't be do as I say and not as I do. I lose all respect for a person who uses that word regardless of race or color. Everyone who uses that word shows just how ignorant they are.

deertracker

As a black man, I do not think she should have lost her job for using the word. However, I do have issues with her fantasy of hosting a plantation style wedding and having all blacks dressed as slaves. I think anyone who chooses to use the word can do so as long as they are ready to accept the consequences. Everyone wants to remind us that rappers use the word but forget that rappers are rich because white suburban kids LOVE rap music and buy it religiously. I like Paula Deen and her cooking and don't really care if she is a racist or not. It is a learned behavior so she is not the only one at fault here. This is all much ado about nothing!

meowmix

Very well said deertracker-- I didn't get the plantation style wedding theme either but if anything, I think it was probably meant to represent the more "genteel" appearance of the South back in the olden days. Then again, I just don't understand the fools who want to run around either dressed like confederate soldiers or nazi's to reenact war....

santown419

Thank you deertracker I to have decided to not use the word.Matter of fact I have lost friends because I have told them more then once not to call me it.

arnmcrmn

Tired of all the Paula Dean drama. Dear Lord, it was something she said a LONG time ago in her past and she apologized and has since changed her ways a long long time ago.

While the word she used isn't something I agree with nor use, when is enough enough? We have rap songs that use that word 100 times in each song, while degrading women, promoting drug use and being unruly and irresponsible with life.

We have all said things at some point in life that we wish we didn't say and would take it back if we could.

If we as a nation want to rid our country of that awful word, then lets not be selective about who can and cannot use it because it gets us nowhere.

Contango

Reminds me of the little black kid who yrs. ago came up to me on a street in Cleveland and said:

"Give me a dollar honky."

Guess he needed to improve his panhandling skills. :)

Cowboy

As long as the NAACP and KKK is around there will always be racism.

2cents

Correct, and as long as the federal government sponsors inequality there will always be some form of discomfort among all people.

The Big Dog's back

So pooh, who cleaned up the mess you left on the sidewalk?

The Big Dog's back

Robert Byrd apologized about his past but that didn't matter to right wingers. Now the double standard?

Contango

Re: "Robert Byrd"

H*ll, Pres. Clinton DEFENDED his assoc. with the KKK. :)

http://www.realclearpolitics.com...

Yep! Reads like a HUGE double standard.

The Big Dog's back

Deflect.

meowmix

What about Strom Thumond? The biggest racist hypocrite known. Starts off as a Democrat but switches to Republican due to his opposition to the Civil Rights movement and then come to find out he had fathered a child with a black woman.

Contango

Chevy Chase & Richard Pryor "Word Association.":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S...

Kimo

Hell fire, not too long ago a poster on this site called the president a "Monkey".

"Aug 02, 2010
08:48 AM
mikel says
wow! if thats not the monkey calling the kettle black! "we can't afford to play partisan politics"? really prez obamass did you forget to tell your leftwing henchmen that?"

It is.... what it is...... people

registerer

Just what exactly is the posts that lead up to that?

Quailman

I don't think it was right for Paula to make racial slurs, but what I don't understand is why the Food Network doesn't seem to care that their Facebook page is being spammed with pro-Paula comments by the second (with quite a few of them choosing to boycott their channel) when the Food Network dropped Paula in fear of her hurting their channel's ratings in the first place.

sandtown born a...

REALLY people who cares what she said 30+ yrs ago??? What ever happened to sticks and stones may break bones but words won't hurt me??? Oh yeah slow news week of there was a major crisis/story to cover this would be no more than a small spot in the back of the paper. I for one have said the word and anyone else being honest would admit the same.

Informed

You people are crazy if you think this is something she said once 25 years ago. No way. The reputation of this woman in the "food world" is that she is racist and trashy. I don't understand why some of you find that so hard to believe.

Informed

Blues, a lot of people were there. She asked this chef in front of a large group of people. What kind of professionalism is that?!

Kimo

@registerer... AP story in SR... "Obama blames GOP for small-biz loan failure."

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