Celebrity chef Paula Deen, 66, was canned by the cable channel on Friday after releasing a groveling video apology on YouTube for using the N-word and cracking racist jokes at her Savannah, Ga., restaurant.
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong I have done. I want to learn and grow from this,” she said in the 45-second video posted on YouTube.
“Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. 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.”
Deen adopted a solemn tone as she looked straight into the camera. Still, her recorded apology featured three obvious edits – with the picture quickly fading out between splices – during a statement just five sentences long, says the Huff Post.
But shortly after the video-apology was posted, the video disappeared. Minutes after that, the Food Network released its statement. Unclear is whether the two events were in any way related and the network was not commenting beyond the statement.
However, ham-handed apology was not enough to save her job and the Food Network’s statement was short and to the point: “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”
The network said it would monitor the situation, but that it “does not tolerate any form of discrimination.”
Deen came under fire after admitting last month under oath in a deposition to using racial slurs – including the N-word – in the past.
“Yes, of course,” Deen said, though she added, “It’s been a very long time.”
Deen and her brother are being sued for alleged sexual and racial harassment by a former manager of Deen’s restaurants in Savannah, Georgia.
Lisa T. Jackson’s lawsuit alleges that Deen and Bubba Hier committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at Deen’s Lady & Sons and Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House eateries in Savannah.
In addition, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has announced it will launch its own investigation.
The group “will take a closer look at Paula Deen’s company to determine whether the allegations are credible, and if so, do they constitute a widespread pattern or practice of illegal exclusion.
“It may also be relevant to determine whether the company has any state or federal contracts.” Rainbow/PUSH vice president Janice L. Mathis said in a statement.
Following the Food Network’s announcement that it will not renew Deen’s contract, some of her fans weren’t shy about expressing support for her on Twitter and the network’s Facebook page, writes the LA Times.
“SHAME on you food network for canceling Paula dean!!!!!” it read, in part. It had more than 600 likes and was generating a fierce debate between Deen supporters and detractors.
On Twitter, “Paula Deen” was trending — and positive comments about the Southern chef weren’t exactly pouring in. But a small niche of tweeters indicated their support for her with #TeamPaula and, yes, #TeamPaulaDeen.
The Emmy-winning star began working for the Food Network in 1999.
The celebrity chef oversees a personal brand that includes spices, cookie mixes, pots and pans, kitchenwear, cruise line appearances and even a new line of flavored butters.