UPDATE---Wednesday June 26, 2013---- Paula Deen finally sat down with Matt Lauer on NBC's TODAY show almost a week after she canceled a scheduled interview. In the meantime, she has lost three sponsors and seen herself pilloried for her attempts to explain her behavior. Nonetheless, Deen has yet to understand just why her critics won't ease up on her. Read the whole story, here.
UPDATE---Friday June 21, 2013 5:30 p.m. EDT----In a surprise move at day's end, the Food Network announced it is ending its current relationship with one of its stars, Paula Deen.. “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month,” it said via a spokesman.
It comes after not one, not two, but three short videos released via YouTube today in which Deen begged for forgiveness and apologized to those she hurt, including TODAY show host Matt Lauer. Apparently, this morning's late cancellation of her appearance on the NBC News program was a result of her inability to face TV cameras after the firestorm of protest about her use of the "N" word and the explanation on the record in a civil court deposition. (See story below.)
Deen has many boosters and they took to Twitter to demonize the celebrity chef's critics. "Get over it," was a big theme of the tweets, in addition to blaming media for making a mountain out of a mole hill.
There has been no official statement from Paula Deen or her camp in response to the Food Network's decision.
UPDATE----Friday June 21, 2013---2:20 p.m. EDT--- Paula Deen issued an apology via a video released Friday afternoon. It follows her cancellation of an appearance on this morning's TODAY show. It's clear that Deen and her advisers believe that an abject and tearful mea culpa was better for her than another interview to explain herself. Do you think they were right?
Paula Deen's latest dilemma is under review by the Food Network.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the cable channel said that it, "..."does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation."
Deen has come under fire this week for admissions made in a deposition arising from a civil lawsuit for damages. It was filed by a former employee of a restaurant owned by Paula and brother Bubba Hier.
Asked if she ever used the "N" word in her life, Deen admitted under oath that she did, but not recently.
She offered an explanation that seems to have made matters worse. Attempting to place her comments in perspective, Deen explained that while she's not proud of it, she expressed that offensive word in response to being a crime victim during the 1980's.
That has changed, according to her.
"But that's just not a word that we use as time has gone on," Deen said. "Things have changed since the '60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do."
Booked for an interview on this morning's edition of TODAY, her cancellation notice came just prior to showtime. She flew into New York on Thursday specifically to fulfill the commitment.
Host Matt Lauer, a man under constant fire for his own issues made quite a point of scolding her. Video posted below.
Sides have been drawn by the public on Deen's admissions and explanation. What more could she do to help herself by appearing on the air today?
For those who believe she's a racist or a terrible person what she would have said, amounting to an explanation of her original explanation, could not have helped. For those that believe she's being tortured after admitting the truth, nothing else needs to be said.
There isn't a good way to admit use of the "N" word. Coming clean about using a racial slur by relying on historical context is clearly not getting Paula Deen anywhere.
Food Network management had to say something about the situation with the media explosion of the past few days. Will they try to ride it out and keep Paula in the fold?
If similar situations can be used as a measure, Deen can come away with her TV empire intact as long as sponsors of her programs keep the cash coming in.
A few years ago, talk show king Don Imus thought he was past his remarks made about a woman's basketball championship team. Imus called the young ladies, "nappy headed hoes" in an attempt at humor. He'd been saying nasty stuff for years, but this time his sponsors started pulling away support.
It was only then that Imus felt the pinch of being off the air.
Paula Deen outlasted criticism for hiding her diabetes diagnosis, while carrying a large amount of weight on her frame and urging folks to eat the high fat and sugary menu items at her restaurants. After she secured a financial arrangement with a drug company whose medication treats the illness and came clean, she ignited a backlash against her.
It took multiple explanations at that time as well, to try and convince people she hadn't led them down the path to diabetes along with her.
Don't bet against this powerhouse woman. Criticism from Matt Lauer with his current reputation shouldn't be a determining factor. Her advisers have bet that more explanations sure to anger people are worse than spurning the TODAY show.
Do you agree with them? What do you think Deen's future will be on the Food Network?
Image: Wikimedia Commons