Food Network won't renew Paula Deen's contract - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Food Network won't renew Paula Deen's contract

Posted: Updated:
(YouTube screen grab) (YouTube screen grab)

By RUSS BYNUM
Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - 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 Home Cooking" in 2002 and later "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2008, weighed in with a terse statement Friday afternoon.

"Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," the statement said. Network representatives declined further comment. A representative for Deen did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment on the decision.

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 video - one that allowed her and her staff complete control of what she said and how she said it.

"Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable," Deen said in the first 45-second video posted on YouTube. "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.

It was soon scrapped and replaced with a second video of Deen talking unedited for nearly two minutes as she insists: "Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me."

"''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," Deen says in the later video. "The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others."

Deen never mentions Food Network or its decision to drop her in either of her online videos.

Deen initially planned to give her first interview on the controversy Friday to the "Today" show, which promoted her scheduled appearance as a live exclusive. Instead, host Matt Lauer ended up telling viewers that Deen's representatives pulled the plug because she was exhausted after her flight to New York. Deen said in her video she was "physically not able" to appear.

Court records show Deen sat down for a deposition May 17 in a discrimination 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.

During the deposition, Deen was peppered with questions about her racial attitudes. At one point she's asked if she thinks jokes using the N-word are "mean." Deen says jokes often target minority groups and "I can't, myself, determine what offends another person."

Deen also acknowledged she briefly considered hiring all black waiters for her brother's 2007 wedding, an idea inspired by the staff at a restaurant she had visited with her husband. She insisted she quickly dismissed the idea.

But she also insisted she and her brother have no tolerance for bigotry.

"Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is" or what gender a person is, Deen said. "It's what's in your heart and in your head that matters to us."

___

AP Television Writer David Bauder contributed to this story from New York.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More Local NewsMore>>

  • Atlanta Falcons

    Falcons 2014-2015 schedule released

    Falcons 2014-2015 schedule released

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:13:59 GMT
    The NFL has released the 2014-2015 season schedules and the Atlanta Falcons slate of games provides plenty of intrigue. Here are a few items of interest. Week 1 will be a rematch of last year’s season opener, only this time, the New Orleans Saints come to the Georgia Dome. The Falcons play the Detroit Lions in London in Week 8. It’s a game fans will have to get up early to watch. It airs at 9:30 a.m. EST.
    The NFL has released the 2014-2015 season schedules and the Atlanta Falcons slate of games provides plenty of intrigue. Here are a few items of interest. Week 1 will be a rematch of last year’s season opener, only this time, the New Orleans Saints come to the Georgia Dome. The Falcons play the Detroit Lions in London in Week 8. It’s a game fans will have to get up early to watch. It airs at 9:30 a.m. EST.
  • GBI issues amber alert for two-year old girl

    GBI issues amber alert for two-year old girl

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:46:51 GMT
    Maliah Harris Maliah Harris
    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has issued a Levi’s Call, Georgia’s Amber Alert. The Mississippi Highway Patrol is on the lookout for 2 year old Maliah Harris. Harris is believed to have been abducted in from Caledonia Mississippi Wednesday morning. Harris is described as a white two-year-old female with blonde hair. Authorities said Harris was possibly abducted by Donald Boyd Harris. Boyd is described as a 34-year old 5’11” white male with brown hair and blue eyes. Authorities believe th...
    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has issued a Levi’s Call, Georgia’s Amber Alert. The Mississippi Highway Patrol is on the lookout for 2 year old Maliah Harris. Harris is believed to have been abducted in from Caledonia Mississippi Wednesday morning. Harris is described as a white two-year-old female with blonde hair. Authorities said Harris was possibly abducted by Donald Boyd Harris. Boyd is described as a 34-year old 5’11” white male with brown hair and blue eyes. Authorities believe th...
  • Governor signs controversial gun bill into law

    Governor signs controversial gun bill into law

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:12 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:12:43 GMT
    A few hundred gun rights advocates gathered for Wednesday's bill signing in Ellijay with top officials including House Speaker David Ralston and bill sponsor Rep. Rick Jasperse.
    A few hundred gun rights advocates gathered for Wednesday's bill signing in Ellijay with top officials including House Speaker David Ralston and bill sponsor Rep. Rick Jasperse.
  • More EntertainmentMore>>

  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized

    Miley Cyrus hospitalized

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:10 AM EDT2014-04-16 11:10:48 GMT
    Miley Cyrus is in the hospital and unable to perform her "Bangerz" concert in Kansas City, Mo., as planned.
    Miley Cyrus is in the hospital and unable to perform her "Bangerz" concert in Kansas City, Mo., as planned.
  • PHOTOS: American Idol auditions in Atlanta

    PHOTOS: American Idol auditions in Atlanta

    Thursday, January 23 2014 8:29 PM EST2014-01-24 01:29:54 GMT
    Who will be the next American Idol?  It might be one of these faces!  "Idol" auditions happened last summer at Gwinnett Arena, and aired on Jan. 23. You can check out photos here!
    Who will be the next American Idol?  It might be one of these faces!  "Idol" auditions happened last summer at Gwinnett Arena, and aired on Jan. 23. You can check out photos here!
  • Fall toy preview: What's hot for 2014

    Fall toy preview: What's hot for 2014

    Wednesday, October 16 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-10-16 14:36:10 GMT
    It might seem a little early to make your holiday wish list, but toy makers are already working on prototypes for the hottest toys of 2014!
    It might seem a little early to make your holiday wish list, but toy makers are already working on prototypes for the hottest toys of 2014!  There's only one place to see them, and if you're an industry insider, there's only one way to get inside.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices