SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Food Network said Friday it’s dumping Paula Deen, barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted the first of two videotaped apologies online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.
The 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed Deen told an attorney questioning her under oath last month that she has used the N-word.
Yes, of course, Deen said, though she added, It’s been a very long time.
The Food Network, which made Deen a star with Paula’s Best Dishes in 2002 and later Paula’s Home Cooking in 2008, weighed in with a terse statement Friday afternoon.
The news came as Deen worked to repair the damage to her image, which has spawned a vast empire of cookbooks, a bimonthly cooking magazine, a full line of cookware, food items like spices and even furniture.
She abruptly canceled a scheduled interview on NBC’s Today show Friday morning, instead opting for a direct appeal via online videos.
Court records show Deen sat down for a deposition last month in a lawsuit filed last year by a former employee who managed Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, a Savannah restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers.
The ex-employee, Lisa Jackson, says she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs.