Food Network Drops Paula Deen

In the wake of two video apologies from the embattled celebrity cook, the cable channel announced Deen's contract will not be renewed.

The announcement Friday that the Food Network would not be renewing Paula Deen's contract capped a week of chaos for the celebrity cook, triggered by revelations that she has used racial slurs — including the N-word — in the past.

The network's announcement came just after she failed to appear for a scheduled "Today" show interview and issued two online video statements begging her fans and partners for forgiveness for having used slurs before.

The statement from the cable channel simply read: "Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month." No reason for the parting of ways was given.

A high-profile fixture on the network, "Paula's Home Cooking" began airing in 2002 and was joined by "Paula's Party" in 2006 and "Paula's Best Dishes" in 2008. 

Deen, 66, is also the author of 14 cookbooks that have sold more than 8 million copies and her bimonthly magazine "Cooking with Paula Deen," has a circulation of nearly 1 million, according to her website.

In a statement to "Today," Deen responded to Food Network's announcement, saying, "I would like to thank The Food Network for 11 great years. Because of the gift The Food Network gave me, I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories."

Deen's use of racial slurs were made public during a deposition as part of a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah. Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers own the restaurant.

In the lawsuit Jackson claims she was sexually harassed by Hiers and that Deen used the N-word around her.

According to a transcript of the video deposition, Jackson's attorney asked the Food Network star if she has ever used the N-word.

"Yes, of course," Deen replied, adding, "It's been a very long time."

Deen went on to say she may have also used the racial slur when recalling conversations between black employees at her restaurants, but she couldn’t give specifics, The Associated Press reported.

"I wanna apologize to everybody... for the wrong that I've done... I want to learn and grow from this," begins a weary-looking Deen in the first, heavily edited 46-second video posted to YouTube Friday afternoon ahead of the Food Network announcement.

"Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable," she haltingly continues. "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."

"Please forgive me for the mistakes that I've made," she pleads once more before the screen fades to black.

Earlier Friday the self-proclaimed queen of Southern Cooking failed to show for an interview on NBC’s “Today” show to discuss the controversy.

"We started hearing from her people that she is exhausted," "Today" host Matt Lauer said on-air. "Her publicity person simply said they believe she is in the hotel but she has not confirmed anything other than she is not here this morning."

It was this no-show that Deen addressed in the second video released just over an hour after the first.

"Hello y'all, I'm Paula Deen. I was invited this morning to speak with Matt Lauer about a subject that has been very hurtful for a lot of people," she says while seated in what appears to be an office environment.

"And Matt, I have to say, I was physically unable this morning," Deen continues. "The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others, so I've taken this opportunity now that I've pulled myself together and am to speak to offer an apology to those I have hurt."

Throughout the second video, a visibly distressed Deen wrings her hands as she addresses her use of racial slurs in the past. 

"I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. I've spent the best of 24 years to help myself and others. Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me. But it's what is in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that."

"And I am here to say that I am so sorry, I was wrong. Yes, I've worked hard and I've made mistakes, but that is no excuse. And I offer my sincere apology to those I have hurt, and I hope that you forgive me. Because this comes from the deepest part of my heart and I will continue to work and continue to do good things for good people. Thank you for listening."

It was not the first time Deen's mouth had placed her in hot water.

In 2012 it was revealed that she had diabetes for three years while continuing to promote high-fat, high-sugar recipes in her televised appearances and cookbooks. The information regarding her health was only made public at the same time it was announced she would become the celebrity face of an initiative by a diabetes drug company.

In the months following the announcement Deen lost weight and began telling her fanbase to only eat hgh-fat foods in moderation. Her healthier approach to eating was called in to question in June when she debuted a range of self-branded "finishing butters" to be sold at Walmart. Deen encouraged cooks to add the product at the end of food preparation in order to bring a butter taste to various dishes.

Contact Us