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.




What a shame. I don't see the big deal. Paula was woman enough to admit that she used the word a long time ago. Years ago, I looked the word up in the dictionary. The example used was "a lazy worthless person". It said nothing of skin color. We are having more of our rights taken away. If I sued every person who ever called me names, I would be rich. People do change. Grow up get over it.

There you go again

I couldn't agree with you more. Everyone is pulling the race card out and we Americans have become hateful people because of it.

JudgeMeNot's picture

Once again the media doesn't have enough to do.



Raoul Duke

Maybe she sucked anyway.

Darwin's choice

If Paula Deen can be fired and blacklisted by everyone for something from 25 years ago, why in the hell can't we fire/impeach Obama for his coke snorting/pot smoking days of criminal activity?

The Big Dog's back

Obama? This is about Paula Deen.

Darwin's choice

Well, Big Dog, the point is selective prosecution. And, lack of it!


Prosecution or persecution?

The Big Dog's back


dorothy gale

Only after we put Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove, and Rumsfeld in prison for crimes againt humanity.


Dorothy don't forget about Sen's Clinton, Pelosi and Reid for giving their approval of going into Iraq.


"In the past". How long ago in the past isn't indicated. Anyone over the age of 50 who says they haven't said the word is lying.

And why is it okay for rappers/singers to use the word in their lyrics. That's a double standard and there are too many double standards in this world.

I considered it a racial slur when Muslims refer to us as infidels!


Moral of the story? Lesson learned? Everyone keep lying. That's all. This is why no progress has been made in 50 years concerning racism. No racial slur holds a candle to the so called N word. It's stupid to give a word such reverence, but here we are. There will be no progress until we remove all reference to color of skin. To identify yourself by your skin color is wrong, it perpetuates racism. Color is only skin deep, right?


Yet in the b-ball court next to me the brothers be calling each other the n-word all day long! Al Sharpten uses that word. No big deal ... unless your white and saying it!


Why do you always lie ? Sharpton along with many black preachers worked together to get a law passed in new York that made using the n-word a misdemeanor .So how do you figure he used it when he also went against nwa for using it. We know you hate sharpton but you don't have to make things up.

The Big Dog's back

1st of all I like Paula Deen. It's not the word, it's the culture of belief.

JudgeMeNot's picture

Paula has been thrown to the lions for the sake of entertaining the mob. Wal-mart was just scared of being looted and burned to the ground. Racism is here to stay. Get over it.


Um, it is not just something she said 25 years ago. The woman is racist and trashy. Just ask people who dealt with her when she was in this area several years ago for the Food and Wine event.


Well, "Informed", I'm asking you. right now.


Good Gosh...it was said 30 years ago... big deal...leave the woman and her family alone... why anyone would fire her for something that was said 3 decaded ago is just plain STUPID...

2cents's picture

Just shows you how the companies that were profiting off of her just threw her under the bus at the drop of a hat. She was way too quick to respond, she should have put on her big girls pants and rode it out for a while but flinched and jumped into social media to save face. Screwed up world we are in with all this!


My brother got called a white N(word) the other day. How is that ok? all he was doing is driving down the street and the people decided to flip him the bird and call him that. Myself... I don't understand where all the hate comes from. NO ONE likes being called a name weather or not someone was making a joke out of it. It's always out there... they say most jokes about someone are HALF truthful!?! Just my thought....

Raoul Duke

So, your brother is half white?


Well, for instance, she asked one of the chefs, who happened to be African American, if he had ever been to prison.


Hate to say this but there is a lot in prison!! Look at the national statistics once. Sadly, it all starts a home. Learn the system once and show the next generation how to do it! Sad country of entitlement and when does it end. Never! Unless there are parents that give a S!@T..but that seems hard to come by these days. Why work when someone will pay for you to freeload?? Must be nice, but we don't do that system. We pay TAXES,HOME LOAN, ELECTRIC, ETC..not to mention food that we budget and actually look at the prices instead of just swinging stuff in the cart and don't care!! What a DISGRACE! enough said, need a BP pill..........


Its a shame that you are so full of bs that who you are describing is white people .Look up your facts next time


Its a shame that you are so full of bs that who you are describing is white people .Look up your facts next time


Were you there "Informed", or is that gossip/hearsay?


PLUS...I have worked with plenty of "wiggers" from Sandtown. There is a name for anything or anyone...

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!


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


Paula & porn ....


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."


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.


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


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


Check out her son's steak fries:



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.


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.


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.


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!


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....


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.


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.


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. :)


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

2cents's picture

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?


Re: "Robert Byrd"

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


Yep! Reads like a HUGE double standard.

The Big Dog's back



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.


Chevy Chase & Richard Pryor "Word Association.":



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


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


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.


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.


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?!


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


all I want is the ones next door to cut their grass. doesn't the "N word" mean lazy? Paula is right.


Actually the word is slang for Negro. Negro means black in Spanish. Negroes were slaves and anything but lazy.


Re: "Negroes were slaves and anything but lazy."


The Spanish Conquistadors and the Portuguese colonists attempted to make slaves of the Indians, but they didn't have the proper "work ethic."

So they purchased and imported slaves from Africans who enslaved their fellow African enemies - blame the Spanish & Portuguese.

Many fortunes of some of the "finer" families of New England were built upon the slave trade.


The stereotype of a lazy person came from the white slave-owners explanation for harsh treatment and whipping. In reality it was torture meant to terrorize.


After spending some time in the South I learned that racism is pervasive. It is a part of the culture. It is the wish for a better time, when slaves did the manual labor and whites profited from it. That is where the "plantation-style" wedding idea came from. Comments that Ms. Dean might make in the North might be considered racist, but in the South common.


Re: "After spending some time in the South I learned that racism is pervasive."


Ever heard of the "Reverse Migration"?

Many educated blacks are heading South because they can't find work in the North.

Also, with the Reconstruction, blacks obtained the right to vote, while most Northern states still prohibited it.

Read some OH history. Plenty of finger pointing to go around.


You have got to be kidding me. You actually have the nerve to call me names. I wrote what I observed. Period. My comment was based on recent experience not information found in a book.


Re: "My comment was based on recent experience,"

As is mine.

Yours reads like an anecdotal self-fulfilling prejudicial prophecy.


Self-fulfilling? I don't benefit. None of us do. In rural areas in the deep South I was treated with distrust as soon as I opened my mouth. In one establishment I was asked where I came from and told to leave. That I would get "no service here" and to "git back north were you belong."


Re: "I was asked where I came from and told to leave."

Unless you're black, you're OFF TOPIC.

Want racial prejudice? Go to Boston.

Many there believe that "civilization" ends at the Charles River too. :)


"It is the wish for a better time, when slaves did the manual labor and whites profited from it."

Calling you on your history lesson. You have to admit that the north in general is blamed for the loss of their way of life.


Re: "whites profited from it,"

The wealthy New England textile mill owners weren't too concerned about the origin of the cotton. They just needed MORE.

Also, the conditions of how slaves were treated in the South was regional not monolithic.

Your historical view appears to have largely been shaped by Hollywood - NOT reality.

If you haven't, read: "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington.

The Big Dog's back

Your disrespect for women and people of color is no secret. Who the he!! are you to tell someone what they and many, many others experienced, especially women and blacks, is a lie?


Re: "1st of all I like Paula Deen."

So let's see you defend her. :)


I can't help but agree with you. My family is from Mississippi and south Carolina and it is still alive and thriving.

Mime Bloggling

It wasn't in the too distant past that Jesse Jackson called Jews "hymies" and New York City "hymietown". Also Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a c-nt and her special needs son retarded..all with no consequences from advertisers etc. BIG double standard when it comes to Liberals. A soulless lot.
And to think Paula Deen, who is a registered Democrat, promoted and voted for Barack Obama.

The Big Dog's back

What's that have to do with anything?


Politics is most definitely off-topic. I don't agree that Ms. Deen should have lost her job over this. I am concerned that she didn't seem to understand why the plantation-style wedding would be offensive.

@Mime: The reaction from southerners to my lack of southern dialect was unrelated to my politics. There are plenty of northern republicans. I don't care for the descriptions used in your examples either, put then we didn't go to war over either example.


Re: "The reaction from southerners to my lack of southern dialect was unrelated to my politics."

And those with southern accents are NEVER discriminated against in the North? LOL.

BTW: Slaves were essentially useless during the long winter months in the North. Hence, a major variable to the differences in the developing cultures.

Blacks in numerous Northern states including OH could not own property and had few rights prior to AND after the Civil War.



I've read it, have you?

Unfortunately, slavery became institutionalized in the U.S. Most other countries ended slavery without a need for bloodshed.

The Civil War may have FREED blacks, but in numerous cases they became WORSE off.

H*ll, even the North reneged on "forty acres and a mule."

Also, Northerners put up rules and regulations (including labor unions) which sought to prevent blacks from migrating and taking jobs in their states.

For Northerners to be sanctimonious on this issue when there clearly is bigotry in their present and past demonstrates naiveté, arrogance and sheer prejudice.

Mime Bloggling

Oh the irony.


The N word is used by a sector of African Americans that use it as a "term of endearment." Because it was used by whites as an insult during slavery and the days of Jim Crow blacks are generally apalled by causcasians using it. You can disagree but it is what it is. As a citizen of the United States you have to be able navigate thru ALL unpolitical rhetoric. A gay person can use gay slurs towards a gay person and they laugh. If your not gay it's an insult. Your not going to change it by saying it's wrong. A man can call a woman a female dog and it's an insult but if her girlfriend calls her that jokingly it's ok. Know the lay of the land.

The Good Doctor

My sentiment exactly!


No one can say she isn't a hard worker, she overcame a lot to get where she is. She made a mistake, we all do, lets forgive her, she donates to charity, employs many
Americans, and regrets all of this.

The Good Doctor

She said what she meant. I have no sympathy for her plight.


So you've never made a mistake in life that you had to learn from? Wow, I never knew a perfect person would ever exist in this world. Somebody give this person a medal!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Ms. Deen is worth an estimated $10M.

Not-to-worry, IMO she'll do fine.

Wonder if the Food Network will keep her son Cheater on?

He made healthy alternatives to his mom's recipes.


how stupid are people? it's a word get over it, if a word hurts you that bad, then i feel sorry for you, because anyone who is offended by that word is just ignorant and just plain juvenile. Persons of color can use any word they want to, especially the n-word,and nobody cares, but as soon as a white person says the word, it is the worst thing anyone has ever said. What a joke, get a life idiots.


You wouldn't believe what I call my ex.


BooHoo. She has plenty of money. People get fired and sued everyday for stupid things. Maybe she could get a job at the Chick-Fil-A or write a book about it, like famous people often do. I just don't care.