The Food Network will not renew the contract of celebrity chef Paula Deen, it announced Friday. The network’s decision came after a firestorm that started Wednesday when a videotaped deposition Deen gave in May became public. In that deposition, Deen admitted to having used the N word and having told her staffers she wanted to plan a “very southern style wedding” for her brother with an all-black waitstaff.“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month,” a network spokesperson said in a statement.
Less than two hours before the network announced its decision, Deen released a videotaped statement apologizing and asking for forgiveness for her “inappropriate, hurtful language.” Shortly after she released that video, it was removed from YouTube and she released a second, different apology video.
Deen first began working with the Food Network in 1999. She gave the deposition last month as part of a discrimination suit filed against her by, Lisa Jackson, a former employee of a restaurant she owns. Jackson’s suit named Deen, her company, and her brother, who runs the restaurant. The suit alleged Jackson was subject to a variety of sexist, racist behavior while working at the restaurant.
As TPM has reported, Deen’s 2006 memoir includes her recollection of a childhood incident in which she hit a young black girl with a “bolo bat” and said she once tried to cook a “Sambo Burger” on air before producers intervened.
Attorneys for Deen and her brother have denied the allegations in the lawsuit. Representatives for Deen did not respond to a request for comment.