Celebrity Chef Pays Heavy Price for Racist Jokes
An American celebrity chef’s racial slurs have cost her several partnerships.
Paula Deen admitted in a recorded deposition to using the N-word and planning a slavery-themed wedding, recent multiple reports have indicated.
The May 17 deposition where she made the alleged admissions is part of a $1.2 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Jackson, the former manager of a Savannah, Georgia, restaurant run by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers.
Jackson alleged in the suit that Deen used the N-word at the restaurant.
The reports said that in the deposition, Deen replied “Yes, of course,” when asked if she used the N-word.
Deen said she used the word when a black man put a gun to her head during a bank robbery some years ago.
She said "I'm sure I have" when asked if she had used the word since.
She said she did not tell racist jokes and did not use the n-word in that context. “Things have changed since the ’60s in the South,” she said. “And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior.”
When asked if she told racist jokes, Deen reportedly answered, "It's just what they are — they’re jokes … most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks … I can't determine what offends another person."
Deen later posted two videotaped apologies online begging forgiveness from fans and critics, but this did not impress The Food Network, which made Deen a star with "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2002 and later "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2008.
"Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," the network said in a statement last week.
On Wednesday, Caesars Entertainment ended its relationship with Deen, shutting down four of her Paula Deen Buffets at different Caesars properties.
Two days earlier, on Monday, Smithfield Foods terminated its relationship with Deen, saying. "Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen. Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned."
Deen went on the Today show on Wednesday morning to apologize for her remarks and perform damage control.