Posted: 1:11 p.m. Friday, June 21, 2013
Paula Deen fired by Food Network, investigated by Jesse Jackson's group
By Jennifer Brett
Paula Deen is being fired by the Food Network and investigated by The Rev. Jesse Jackson's organization, just as she issued a very short, matter-of-fact statement via video regarding her acknowledged use of a racial slur in the past.
The network said in a news release Friday afternoon that it would not renew Deen's contract when it expires at the end of the month, the AP reported.
In other news, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.'s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has announced it will launch its own investigation. The group “will take a closer look at Paula Deen's company to determine whether the allegations are credible, and if so, do they constitute a widespread pattern or practice of illegal exclusion. It may also be relevant to determine whether the company has any state or federal contracts. We are not making any assumptions about these very serious charges, but we are investigating and will report our findings publicly," Rainbow/PUSH vice president Janice L. Mathis said in a statement.
The folksy television chef and cookbook author, who was born in Albany in southwest Georgia in 1947, acknowledged during a recent deposition that she had used a racial slur "a very long time" ago. The revelation sparked a controversy. An Associated Press story wondered if the controversy could damage her image along with her cookbook-cookware-television empire while E! asked its readers to vote on whether Deen "will be able to bounce back from her alleged racist scandal."
Deen was to address the matter on Friday morning but scotched a planned "Today Show" appearance.
In the video, released Friday afternoon, Deen said the following:
"I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done. I want to learn and grow from this. 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 that I have made."
She appeared to choke up toward the end.
Deen and her brother are being sued by a former employee who claims she "worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs," according to AP.
Deen's attorney William Franklin said in a previous statment: "Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable."