N Word: More than Just a Word

June 21, 2013–The cable channel dropped Paula Deen, the controversial celebrity chef, from its programming lineup Friday after a deposition in which she is quoted expressing racist sentiments and using the “N” word.

The Food Network issued a statement on Friday afternoon: “We will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”

The firing arrives after Deen cancelled an appearance on “Today” Friday morning, which she’d scheduled in order to address controversy surrounding her use of racial slurs. After nixing the interview with Matt Lauer last minute, Deen posted an edited video apology online, only to take the YouTube video down and post a second version of the apology shortly thereafter.

youtu.be/jkwbyNKC9Kg

Deen has been a star on the cable channel since 1999. She has appeared in multiple cooking shows for the network, most recently “Paula’s Best Dishes,” since 2008. Her show at Food Network enabled Deen to build a multimedia empire around herself that extended to restaurants, cookbooks and other merchandise.

Deen made headlines when the National Enquirer got hold of a videotaped deposition she gave in connection with a lawsuit filed against her last month. The former manager of restaurants Deen co-owned with her brother in Savannah, Georgia alleged they had engaged in acts of violence, discrimination and racism. She reportedly suggested in the deposition that black staffers at her restaurant dress up as slaves for a wedding her company was catering.

The 66-year-old also starred into previous series on the Food Network, “Paula’s Home Cooking,” which began in 2002, and “Paula’s Party,” which began in 2006. Both series are still rebroadcast on the network.

Variety reports that a hashtag featuring her show’s title began circulating on Twitter yesterday as a showcase for racist jokes. National brands are typically quick to disassociate from high-profile figures caught making bigoted remarks or taking intolerant actions