Official: Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract
By Chelsea J. Carter and Carolyn Sung
(CNN) — Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s contract with The Food Network will not be renewed, the network said Friday, the latest fallout over revelations this week that she admitted to using a racial epithet in the past.
Deen’s contract with The Food Network, which airs three shows featuring the chef, expires at the end of the month, the network said.
The Food Network’s announcement followed reports earlier this week that Deen acknowledged in a lawsuit deposition to using the “N word,” but denied telling racial jokes.
It also came the same day that Deen apologized in video statements posted online for “the wrong that I’ve done.”
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done,” Deen said in the video statement. “I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and 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.”
Deen said earlier in the day she would release a video. Her office would not officially confirm the first video and it has since been removed from YouTube. It was replaced a short time later with a second video statement, where she again apologized and asked for forgiveness.
“My family and I are not the kind of people the press are wanting to say we are,” she said. “…Your color, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me. But it’s what’s in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that.”
A former manager at Deen’s restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, is suing her and her brother for alleged sexual and racial harassment.
Lisa T. Jackson’s lawsuit alleges that Deen and Bubba Hier committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at Deen’s Lady & Sons and Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House eateries in Savannah.
Deen’s lawyer has called the allegations false.
“Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable,” her lawyer, Bill Franklin said. “She is looking forward to her day in court.”
Her company issued a statement Thursday saying Deen used the epithet, but in a “quite different time” in American history.
“She was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today.”
The Food Network, which airs three shows featuring Deen, issued a statement saying that it would “continue to monitor the situation.”
“Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion,” the network said.
The language in question was revealed recently as part of a deposition of Deen by Jackson’s lawyers in May.
Carolyn Sung reported from New York; Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Devon Sayers and Alan Duke contributed to this report.
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