Saturday, June 22, 2013

Paula Deen loses her shows on Food Network for dropping the N bomb...

Last night, a Facebook and Epinions friend of mine posted an article about famed southern cook Paula Deen, whose rich southern cuisine and folksy, down home personality has made her a millionaire many times over.  Paula Deen is in hot water because she and her brother have been sued for using racist epithets in front of a manager at Deen's Savannah restaurant, The Lady and Sons.  Deen apparently also said she wanted to have black waiters dressed as Civil War era slaves for her brother's wedding.

Deen has three shows on the Food Network and as of the end of this month, her contract expires.  Food Network has decided not to renew Deen's contract, which means that her three shows are now toast.

I will admit having seen Paula Deen's cooking show a time or two.  I think I liked her at first, but then she kind of turned me off.  I saw her making macaroni and cheese one time and she was teasing the audience with it.  I don't know; maybe it's just my southern sensibilities, but it seems like Deen should have given the audience a sample rather than tell them, "I wish y'all could taste this..."

I started noticing that her teeth became unnaturally white and fake looking.  I'd see her smiling on a magazine cover and be a little freaked out by the brilliance of her teeth, which was incongruous with her face.

Then, of course, it came out that Deen has type 2 diabetes and yet she continued to make her very rich cuisine.  Type 2 diabetes is a pretty serious problem for a lot of Americans and it is often (but not always) related to diet.  People were upset that Deen didn't come out about her health issues until three years had passed, never mind the fact that her health is really her personal business.  Then she became a well-paid pitchwoman for a diabetes drug.

Even with all of that going on, I'm certain that Paula Deen has plenty of fame and money.  Losing the Food Network gig is probably not going to do much to diminish her lifestyle.  It seems to be more of an insult to her pride than anything else.

That being said...  I don't think Paula Deen should have lost her show under the circumstances that were reported.  A lawyer asked her if she'd ever used the "n-word".  She said she had.  But Paula Deen was born and raised in the south and has been on the planet for 66 years.  She grew up in an era where people used that word very liberally.  Hell, I can remember hearing it on prime time sit-coms in the 70s and 80s, often for comic or shock effect.  It seems to me that the attorney asked her a question and she answered truthfully.

The bit about the waiters is a little more troubling to me...  It seems incredibly inappropriate for her to say such a thing in this day and age.  And I guess the former manager had a right to sue, based on the idea that those comments created a hostile workplace.  On the other hand, there's no telling what the context of that was.  Was she kidding?  Yeah, even if she was kidding, it was in poor taste.  But we still don't know the context.

I watched Paula Deen's apology videos and she appeared to be mortified.  And based on most of the comments I've read, it looks like a lot of people are on her side.  I think, like Martha Stewart, Paula Deen will recover from this snafu.

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