Food Network to drop Paula Deen amid racial slur controversy

Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:46pm EDT
 
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(Warning: contains graphic language.)

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Food Network said on Friday it would drop celebrity chef Paula Deen after the Southern food doyenne was sued for racial discrimination and admitted in a legal deposition to using a racial slur in the past.

The impending loss of Deen's broadcast deal represents a potentially huge setback for a television personality who has built an empire on high calorie food, with cookbooks and restaurants in her native Georgia and other states.

The Food Network said in a statement it "will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month."

A spokeswoman declined further comment but the network, which is owned by Scripps Network Interactive Inc, said on Thursday it "does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion."

The network's decision to drop Deen was announced hours after she failed to make a scheduled appearance on the NBC television morning show "Today" to discuss the controversy. She later apologized on video that was posted online.

"I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done. I want to learn and grow from this," Deen said in one video posted on YouTube and other websites.

The controversy surrounding Deen erupted earlier this week when a deposition was released in transcript form in which Deen, who is white, was asked if she had used the "N-word," and responded, "Yes, of course." The "N-word" is a euphemism for "nigger," an epithet for black people.   Continued...

 
Food Network television personality Paula Deen cheers for her husband Michael Groover during the semi-finals of the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, Florida July 21, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/Handout