Racist Paula Deen Updates: Fired (Twice), More Allegations, and Her Thousands of Supporters
Amanda Bynes should be thanking celebrity chef Paula Deen for drawing the media attention off her tailspin because it seems no one is going to let this issue end quietly. It all started when news broke that Deen admitted to using racist language while being questioned in relation to a lawsuit filed by a former employee. The discrimination suit comes from Lisa Jackson, who claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother.
Pickles Halliwell/Creative Commons Smithfield Foods ended its partnership with Paula Deen earlier this week.
Next came the horribly ill-executed and super-awkward YouTube apology, in which Deen begged for forgiveness from her family, friends, and fans. Of course, the half-dozen rough edits took away from the 45-second clip's perceived sincerity, resulting in . . . a second video.
And that's just the beginning of the story.
The first apology: (removed from the Paula Deen YouTube account)
The second apology:
Neither video was enough to save her job at the Food Network, which announced on Friday that it would not renew Deen's contract, set to expire at the end of June. The network is where Deen made her name with the show Paula's Home Cooking. Then, on Monday, Smithfield Foods also announced it would be ending its relationship with Deen, who had promoted the company's ham products since 2006.
That decision came on the heels of additional allegations of discrimination from former employees. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Sunday that an attorney for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition "said current and former Paula Deen employees told him the famous cook and her brother discriminated against black employees." One employee alleges that "a family member consistently referred to a black cook as 'my little monkey.'"
Though the drama has sent some companies running for the hills, others are standing in support of the deep-fried Southern queen -- or at least, they're keeping their money on her.
Royal Caribbean, for example, hosts an annual "Paula Deen Cruise" and has received so many inquiries about the cruise that it's adding an extra trip for next year. CNN reports that advance sales of her new cookbook, Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, have gone way up since her firing -- as in, orders on Amazon increased nearly 1,300 percent in a 24-hour period. It won't be available until October.
And the support hasn't just come through book orders or those turning out in droves to dine at her restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. The "We support Paula Deen" Facebook page has garnered well over 380,000 likes since it was created on June 21. The "Bring Back Paula Deen" Facebook page has attracted nearly 70,000 likes since that same date.
Deen's sons, Bobby and Jamie, defended their mother Monday on CNN. Bobby said:
"Our mother was under oath and asked in a deposition to pore over her entire life and to admit whether or not she had ever heard or used this word and it broke her heart to have to answer truthfully and say, yes, that she had."