Update: June 21, 2013, 6:10 PM
Food Network celebrity chef Paula Deen released a video statement Friday addressing the controversy over allegations of racial discrimination raised in a lawsuit by a former employee of one of her restaurants. In the video, Deen apologized and asked for forgiveness for her “inappropriate, hurtful language.”
In a videotaped deposition she gave in May in the lawsuit, she admitted using the N word and described how she planned to have a “very southern style wedding” for her brother, with an all-black waitstaff.
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done. I want to learn and grow from this,” said Deen. “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally totally unacceptable. 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. Please forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made.”
Shortly after the video was posted, it was removed from YouTube. About an hour-and-a-half after releasing the first video, Deen posted a second apology video. Food Network announced it would not be renewing her contract about twenty minutes after the second video was released.
Lisa Jackson, the employee who filed the suit in which Deen was deposed, claimed she was subjected to racist and sexist behavior by Deen’s brother, who runs the restaurant. Jackson is also named Deen’s company, and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers, in the suit.
Attorneys for Deen and Hiers have denied the allegations, which include black employees being forced to use separate restrooms and entrances. The Food Network said Wednesday that it will “continue to monitor the situation.” On Thursday, a spokesperson for the network told TPM they had no update on that statement.