I’ll be honest, I was trying to avoid this topic.
But it seems like Paula Deen, the Food Network’s Southern sweetheart-turned-headache after admitting she has used racial slurs, can’t stay out of the news.
And in a bad way.
Turns out, after losing something like a dozen sponsors, her empire continues to crumble. Random House’s Ballantine Books said on Friday it would not release Deen’s forthcoming cookbook, “Paul Deen’s New Testament: 250 Recipes: All Lightened Up,” as well as four other cookbooks she was contracted to write.
I guess her plea for forgiveness on NBC’s “Today” last Wednesday didn’t help.
Deen, 66, and her brother are being sued for racial and sexual discrimination by a manager of their Savannah, Ga. restaurant. It was during a deposition that Deen admitted she used the N-word in the past.
Deen went on the national morning show and said this:
“If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please. I want to meet you.”
She has a point.
I’m not saying what she did was right. But consider this: there was a time when that word, as horrible as this sounds, was commonly used. And haven’t we all used a derogatory term or offensive slur in our lifetime — even if we wholly regretted it after?
The differences are these: First off, Deen is a celebrity and held to a higher standard — can’t help it — than others. And secondly, she’s being sued for discrimination — not for the racial slur, per se.
I haven’t been much of a Deen fan lately, especially after the controversy surrounding her diabetes diagnosis and the kinds of diabetes-unfriendly meals she has built her entire career on. I get that this is a business and you gotta do what you gotta do. But like Deen, consumers have choices, too, and people have decided they’d rather support someone who’s not duping them.
Americans tend to be extremely forgiving to celebrities. Look at Alec Baldwin and Robert Downey Jr. And look at how we root for fallen celebs like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. So will we forgive Deen?