UPDATE: Things were bad, but it seems snubbing the “Today” show, which reaches the world of American morning TV viewers was just too much. Food TV has severed ties with Paula Deen on the same day she released two back to back videos, which included an apology.
The Food Network said Friday that it would not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of June. The announcement followed a bewildering day in which Ms. Deen, the self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking and a sugary mainstay of the network, failed to show up for an interview on the “Today” show and then begged her family and audience for forgiveness in two online videos for using racial epithets in the past. [New York Times]
Original post follows below.
LAST NIGHT on Erin Burnett’s CNN show, Paula Deen was the subject and whether she should be fired from Food TV was the question, which I thought was absolutely absurd. She’s certainly got a massive PR problem with the wider public, but there will be many people who will wink, nod and move right along. The ratings will decide. The response on Twitter has been deadly all week.
Paul Deen bailed on Matt Lauer today, canceling an appearance to be on the “Today” show. Not a good move.
If you haven’t heard, it all started with a lawsuit by a former employee who is charging sexual harassment and that Bubba Gump’s Shrimp was a hotbed of racial innuendo and slurs, which the National Enquirer blasted to the world through Paul Deen’s own words in her deposition. Asked whether she used the n-word, Deen admitted, “Yes, of course,” though it was back in 1980. A time when Ronald Reagan was employing the southern strategy to get elected.
Another problem for Paula Deen is what will happen to her empire that she’s built over a lifetime, with Food TV helping make it all possible. I’ve got a not so secret passion for some of the Food TV shows, which have made me a much better cook and outdoor chef, but I cannot stomach Paul Deen’s show, because her recipes are totally unhealthy and often disgusting.
Jon Oliver let Paul Deen have it last night, as you’ll see above. He continues to do a bang up job in Jon Stewart’s absence, who’s in the Middle East on his directing debut. Stewart did show up in Egypt, where he dropped in on his friend Bassem Youssef, a heart surgeon turned comedian, who Stewart has defended against President Morsi’s draconian threats.
Paula Deen continues to get lambasted across the media for her gafferiffic n-word, southern plantation wedding belch, but wasn’t the only Food TV chef to make headlines this past week. Nigella Lawson was pictured with her husband’s hands around her throat, which caused a furor, with Lawson next being seen, according to scuttlebutt, without her wedding ring.
If you think that’s bad, you’re right, but evidently Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg thinks it’s no big deal. Clegg is now in the middle of his own PR disaster for having the unmitigated audacity to say what looked like a strangling episode was really just a “fleeting thing.” All hell subsequently broke loose and Clegg is catching hell.
Lots of Food TV drama this week, which is rare. Paula Deen can do a lot with her smooth southern charm, which doesn’t work on me, but whether she can mitigate her n-word catastrophe and save her food empire is yet to be proven.