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

grandmasgirl

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

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

registerer

AGREED!!!

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!

deertracker

Prosecution or persecution?

The Big Dog's back

Exactly.

dorothy gale

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

registerer

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

samiam

"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!

Minuteman

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?

YoMamma

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!

santown419

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

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.

Informed

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.

Blues

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

BlueAngel

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

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!

Gunner10

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?

Informed

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

margaritaville88

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..........

santown419

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

santown419

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

Blues

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

Blues

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

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