The celebrity chef was fired from the Food Network on Friday, despite having finally issued an apology (or two) for her alleged racism, which seems to have included use of the N-word as well as planning a wedding staffed by waiters dressed like slaves. But it was too little too loony, as it seems that no one, not even her longtime employer, is willing to accept it.
"Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," according to a statement released by the network.The allegations of racism surfaced this week, after the National Enquirer got a hold of a video deposition from a recent court case in which Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers, are accused of racial and sexual workplace discrimination. Though the video wasn’t released, the Huffington Post published the transcript, which includes Deen’s disturbing admissions of using the epithet in various contexts, along with other unsavory racist moments.
Deen—who should really be a smoothly professional apologist by now—took a while to tell the public she was sorry. On Thursday, Paula Deen Enterprises released a statement defending her honor. On Friday morning, she stood up Matt Lauer on the Today Show, where she had been scheduled to make an appearance and, it was assumed, a live apology.
Then, later on Friday, a harried-looking, grave-voiced Deen released the already infamous video apology, appearing in a hot-pink shirt for 44 pieced-together seconds, declaring that “inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable,” and adding, “I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I beg you—my children, my team, my fans, my partners—I beg for your forgiveness.” The video was soon removed from YouTube in a sloppy form of damage control, but Buzzfeed, alas, still has it in its clutches.
And then, just before 4:30pm on Friday (when most bloggers, she’d most likely prayed, had logged off for the weekend), she released yet another video to the public. “Hello, y’all,” this one started, “I’m Paula Deen.” Uh oh. It went on for a just under two minutes this time, and she begins by apologizing to Matt Lauer, saying, “I was physically not able this morning. Uh, the pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others.” Double uh oh. “Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference, does not matter to me.” It goes on. (Watch the video in full below.)
How much drama should people be willing to take from one celebrity chef anyway? Deen’s past offenses are many, and include hiding her own Type 2 diabetes from the public while aggressively hawking deep-fried, butter-drenched recipes to suckers everywhere. In the case with her brother, the charming duo faces claims of “outrageous and intolerable conduct” at their restaurant in Savannah. She allegedly looked the other way from her brother’s racism, which have reportedly included physical attacks and forcing black employees to use a separate bathroom and entrance.
In light of those accusations, this week’s news and Deen's subsequent apologies have fallen on dead ears.
“Deen made a pile of money off a certain idea of old-school southern culture. In return, she had an obligation to that culture–an obligation not to embody its worst, most shameful history and attitudes,” wrote Time TV critic James Poniewozik. “Instead, in one swoop, fairly or not, she single-handedly affirmed people’s worst suspicions of people who talk and eat like her—along with glibly insulting minorities, she slurred many of the very fans who made her successful.”
The Twitterverse has been all over the incredible sinking Deen, with parody racist-themed recipes (under the hashtag #PaulasBestDishes) and general disgust.
And that, as they say, is that.