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Paula Deen dropped by Wal-Mart after 'Today' tears

By David Bauder

AP Television Writer

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:30 p.m. HST, Jun 26, 2013


NEW YORK » Paula Deen was dropped by Wal-Mart and her name was stripped from four buffet restaurants today, hours after she went on television and tearfully defended herself amid the mounting fallout over her admission of using a racial slur.

The story has become both a day-by-day struggle by a successful businesswoman to keep her career afloat and an object lesson on the level of tolerance and forgiveness in society for being caught making an insensitive remark.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said today that it ended its relationship with Deen and will not place "any new orders beyond what's already committed."

Caesars Entertainment Corp. said it had been "mutually decided" with Deen to remove her name from its restaurants in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind.

At the same time, Deen's representatives released letters of support from nine companies that do business with the chef and promised to continue. There's evidence that a backlash is growing against the Food Network, which tersely announced last Friday that it was cutting ties with one of its stars.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Deen had called him and he agreed to help her, saying she shouldn't become a sacrificial lamb over the issue of racial intolerance.

"What she did was wrong, but she can change," Jackson said.

During a deposition in a discrimination lawsuit filed by an ex-employee, the chef, who specializes in Southern comfort food, admitted to using the N-word in the past. The lawsuit also accuses Deen of using the slur when planning her brother's 2007 wedding, saying she wanted black servers in white coats, shorts and bow ties for a "Southern plantation-style wedding."

Deen said she didn't recall using the word "plantation" and denied using the N-word to describe waiters. She said she quickly dismissed the idea of having all black servers.

Deen this morning told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she could only recall using the N-word once. She said she remembered using it when retelling a story about when she was held at gunpoint by a robber who was black while working as a bank teller in the 1980s in Georgia.

In the deposition, she also said she may also have used the slur when recalling conversations between black employees at her restaurants. Asked in the deposition if she had used the word more than once, she said, "I'm sure I have, but it's been a very long time."

Her "Today" show appearance was a do-over from last Friday, when Deen didn't show up for a promised and promoted interview. Deen told Lauer she had been overwhelmed last week. She said she was heartbroken by the controversy and she wasn't a racist.

"I've had to hold friends in my arms while they've sobbed because they know what's been said about me is not true and I'm having to comfort them," she said.

Looking distressed and with her voice breaking, Deen said if there was someone in the audience who had never said something they wished they could take back, "please pick up that stone and throw it as hard at my head so it kills me. I want to meet you. I want to meet you." It's an apparent reference to the Biblical passage about whether a woman guilty of adultery should be stoned: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

"I is what I is and I'm not changing," Deen said. "There's someone evil out there that saw what I worked for and wanted it."

An uncomfortable Lauer tried to end the interview, but Deen repeated that anyone who hasn't sinned should attack her.

Asked by Lauer whether she had any doubt that blacks consider use of the N-word offensive, Deen said: "I don't know, Matt. I have asked myself that so many times, because it is so distressing to go into my kitchen and hear" what some young people are telling each other.

Deen said she appreciated fans who have expressed anger at the Food Network for dropping her, but said she didn't support a boycott of the network. Through social media, the network has been attacked by people who said executives there acted in haste to get rid of Deen.

Save for the brief announcement late Friday that it wasn't renewing Deen's contract, Food Network executives have refused to discuss the case publicly, or say whether the network plans to address Deen's fans. There have been online reports that the Food Network removed Deen's programs from the air as early as Saturday; the network wouldn't speak about what it has or hasn't put on the air.

Starting last weekend, there has been a steady erosion of support for the network. The YouGov Brandindex, a measurement of how consumers perceive a particular company or product, said the Food Network's score — which had been generally positive — had dropped by 82 percent in a week. The network has a negative image in the South and West, spokesman Drew Kerr said.

Deen's case has also attracted some odd bedfellows. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck said the network has "contributed to the growing un-American atmosphere of fear and silence. Hello, Joseph McCarthy."

Meanwhile, liberal HBO host Bill Maher also said Deen shouldn't lose her show. "It's a wrong word, she's wrong to use it," he said. "But do we really have to make people go away?"

The Food Channel, a food marketing agency based in Springfield, Mo., said it has been flooded with angry messages from people mistaking the company for the Food Network. There have been so many that the agency posted a message to Deen on its website that it would be happy to work with her if possible.

Among the companies expressing support for her via her representatives was Club Marketing Services in Bentonville, Ark., which helps companies sell products at Wal-Mart, and Epicurean Butter.

 

Associated Press writer Russ Bynum in Athens, Ga.; Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York; Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio and Writer Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.

Online:

http://www.today.com/







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Venus1 wrote:
Paula,I love your cooking!!!
on June 26,2013 | 05:27AM
hanalei395 wrote:
But not her diabetes.
on June 26,2013 | 02:01PM
Anonymous wrote:
Her cooking will kill you.
on June 26,2013 | 03:22PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Not in moderation.
on June 26,2013 | 06:58PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Clear it up. Any food is alright in moderation portions
on June 26,2013 | 07:18PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Amazon.com still sells her talented cookbooks and cookware.
on June 26,2013 | 07:22PM
ru4real wrote:
Paula, I love you and am praying for you. We've all done or said something we regret. To err is to be human.
on June 26,2013 | 06:19AM
mikethenovice wrote:
The sooner Paula stays on a low profile, the sooner this wound will heal.
on June 26,2013 | 08:30AM
joewilly wrote:
She is full of sh*t. I saw her interview on the Today show. Crocodile tears!
on June 26,2013 | 09:12AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Those crocodile tears are probably for what she said about throwing a real Southern wedding for her brother. And served by a bunch of little n....... wearing long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow-ties. Then do some tap dancing.
on June 26,2013 | 12:40PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Exactly- a little soft-shoe for massa. So-called "new-South." What a joke.
on June 26,2013 | 08:12PM
Anonymous wrote:
I saw it too. She doesn't have a sincere bone in her body. She is worried about all the money she is going to be losing.
on June 26,2013 | 03:24PM
mikethenovice wrote:
The Bible says to ask for forgiveness.
on June 26,2013 | 06:59PM
aomohoa wrote:
Wow, I've never seen you be so kind.
on June 26,2013 | 08:01PM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
This is nothing but political correctness run amok. Who among us has never uttered a racial slur, EVER? If we were to all be judged by what we said decades ago, every single one of us would be embarrassed to no end. Plain and simple, Paula Deen has been convicted in the court of public opinion by millions of "holier than thous", and has truly been wronged. Two wrongs do not make a right. I feel for her and her family.
on June 26,2013 | 06:27AM
serious wrote:
I don't think the Food Network fired her for just this reason. Her diabetes caper when she went on all the talk shows saying she had the disease BUT now was a spokesperson $$$$ for a diabetes drug company after inflicting an untold number of people who followed her fat cooking. Sure her sons supported her--wouldn't any son? But where was her husband? He evidently isn't a stockholder in her empire like her sons.
on June 26,2013 | 06:45AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Everyone is entitled to privacy with their medical condition.
on June 26,2013 | 08:27AM
nitpikker wrote:
true..BUT! if you're going to be a celebrity figure you have to have a higher set of standards! as they always say..you will influence your fans and followers.
on June 26,2013 | 07:12AM
katana77 wrote:
Agree....everyone is aimed at the 'gotcha's' and Monday morning quarterbacking.....
on June 26,2013 | 07:43AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Indeed. Who among us hasn't attempted to plan a "proper" Southern wedding, complete with slaves? I know I have. Incidentally, these things happened just a few years ago...y'know, almost fifty years after the civil rights movement.

And while I agree that we tend to over-PC everything these days, taking someone to task for using one of the filthiest words our culture ever created in the context it was created for (in 2013, I might add) is hardly being overzealous about political correctness.


on June 26,2013 | 12:10PM
MexMe wrote:
She dismissed the idea of the wedding and doesn't remember using the N word or talking about their dress in such detail. Why are we not hearing from her accuser at all? By the way, I find the cheesy luaus with non-Hawaiians dancing in shredded plastic hula skirts and coconut bras to be pretty much in line with the Plantation Wedding idea.
on June 26,2013 | 02:04PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Absolutely right. Her qualified apology only reinforces that the only thing she regrets about this issue is the publicity.
on June 26,2013 | 08:55PM
bumba wrote:
Food Channel - LOSE MONEY
on June 26,2013 | 06:42AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Go watch Comedy Central you clown.
on June 26,2013 | 08:26AM
ricekidd wrote:
Wow! I guess i should be getting stoned too uh? everyone should get a grip.
on June 26,2013 | 06:45AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Actually, Christ forgave the adulterous woman, and told her to sin no more. What have we done to Deen?
on June 26,2013 | 09:25AM
Dawg wrote:
Lesson learned, when you can buy your way out of a mistake for $1.2M with confidential agreements, don't roll the dice on the $17M annual income. I think it was just good ole southern joshing. Fools! her ego got in the way.
on June 26,2013 | 07:19AM
Anonymous wrote:
Hmmm????? More explanation, please.
on June 26,2013 | 07:51AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Sure seems that all this noise and commotion is a form of extortion to force her to settle a lawsuit.
on June 26,2013 | 08:20AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I don't think that she necessarily looks down on blacks. I think that she is telling the truth when she says that she did not mean it in the way that it is being twisted to be. I believe that the claimant is the one that is the evil one in this whole thing. This person is claiming damages for her use of a word and other interpretations of her actions. They saw dollar signs and wanted a piece of her fortune. To me, that is what's wrong with this whole thing. As far as the word in question is concerned, I feel that it is hypocrisy that blacks can use the word but as soon as a white uses it then it becomes wrong. If that word is so derogatory, then why don't they stop using it altogether? It is just simply wrong that whites can be crucified for using it as in the case of Paula Deen, but then the blacks can use the word and even use it in their music and everyday conversation. What would be interesting about this whole situation is whether or not her sons who have shows on the Food Network will continue their shows knowing what the company has done to their mother. I would suspect that they will cut their ties with the company out of respect for their mother. If they don't, I would question their loyalties. Besides that, I believe that racial discrimination has no place in today's society. But we all know it exists. But I don't think that Paula Deen is a racist in the way that the plaintiff is making her out to be.
on June 26,2013 | 08:38AM
cojef wrote:
Much you say makes sense. Growing up in the 30's, 40's the word "n word" was much used to describe the blacks of the South or when describing a "cotton plantation era" stories. Over the years, with the advent of the Civil Right Act, such rhetoric became a no-no. As a young recruit(1944) taking basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, noticed signs on the buses in the town of Lawton with signs indicating "Negroes" to the rear of the bus. Of course today, political correctness negates discrimination or the use of the "n" word. Even now, there much controversy over the use of African American or Black when the census figures are published
on June 26,2013 | 09:09AM
serious wrote:
Your President is on his way to Africa on a family vacation paid for by $100,000,000 taxpayer dollars. Wait until he gets there---when I was there blacks were called the "n" word. It's in the dictionary, blacks call themselves that--what't the problem??? What do we call mainlanders????
on June 26,2013 | 09:35AM
Ripoff wrote:
We call em lepos
on June 26,2013 | 01:33PM
onwardupward wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on June 26,2013 | 02:48PM
hilocal wrote:
onwardupward, I like your reply to "serious" who seems to think mainlanders are white and maybe only whites are real Americans. That is anyone not white is presumed to be a foreigner, as many locals visiting the mainland discover.
on June 27,2013 | 05:46AM
kolohepalu wrote:
"It's in the dictionary, blacks call themselves that--what't the problem???" Wow. You are truly simple. Please move away from Hawaii.
on June 26,2013 | 09:02PM
4watitsworth wrote:
I totally agree with you and also thought that Lisa Jackson was the troublemaker. In the LA Times, Bobby Deen said that she tried to extort over one million dollars and when that didn't work, she filed the lawsuit. You bring up an interesting point about her son's shows. I don't think Paula would want them to give up their shows but we'll see what happens. If I were in their shoes, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with the Food Network. I'm really surprised by the backlash and hope she'll get through this okay and will appear on other networks.
on June 26,2013 | 11:31AM
Anonymous wrote:
To highlight how this racial thing is so messed up is how we can have a website that caters to blacks only. Yes, there is a blacks-only dating website. But if some entrepreneur decided to have a whites-only dating website, we would have a big controversy. Notice that nothing is being said about the blacks-only dating website. You probably have never heard of this website. But if there was a whites-only dating website, I am sure that it would be big news.
on June 26,2013 | 08:42AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
But your assumption is that a white person couldn't sign up for the site. There is nothing wrong with catering to a specific demographic, it's called 'finding the niche'. But it is illegal to refuse service based on race. A white person could most definitely sign up on the site...whether or not they find a match is another issue.
on June 26,2013 | 12:16PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Exactly. And there's the fact that the reason minority-directed sites exist is because most sites are directed at the: majority. Not hard to follow.
on June 26,2013 | 09:06PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I don't think that she necessarily looks down on blacks. I think that she is telling the truth when she says that she did not mean it in the way that it is being twisted to be. I believe that the claimant is the one that is the evil one in this whole thing. This person is claiming damages for her use of a word and other interpretations of her actions. They saw dollar signs and wanted a piece of her fortune. To me, that is what's wrong with this whole thing. As far as the word in question is concerned, I feel that it is hypocrisy that blacks can use the word but as soon as a white uses it then it becomes wrong. If that word is so derogatory, then why don't they stop using it altogether? It is just simply wrong that whites can be crucified for using it as in the case of Paula Deen, but then the blacks can use the word and even use it in their music and everyday conversation. What would be interesting about this whole situation is whether or not her sons who have shows on the Food Network will continue their shows knowing what the company has done to their mother. I would suspect that they will cut their ties with the company out of respect for their mother. If they don't, I would question their loyalties. Besides that, I believe that racial discrimination has no place in today's society. But we all know it exists. But I don't think that Paula Deen is a racist in the way that the plaintiff is making her out to be. To highlight how this racial thing is so messed up is how we can have a website that caters to blacks only. Yes, there is a blacks-only dating website. But if some entrepreneur decided to have a whites-only dating website, we would have a big controversy. Notice that nothing is being said about the blacks-only dating website. You probably have never heard of this website. But if there was a whites-only dating website, I am sure that it would be big news.
on June 26,2013 | 08:49AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I think it is hypocritical to vilify a white for saying the word that is commonly used by another race. If the word is derogatory to the other race, then why do they continue to proliferate it? I believe that it is two-faced to say that the word is derogatory and continue to use it yourself. What is wrong is that a plaintiff is twisting her use of the words to make her appear to be racist. To highlight how messed up this is, a blacks only dating website exists. But if there was a whites only dating website there would be outrage.
on June 26,2013 | 08:53AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
To me, the real story here is the plaintiff who is suing Paula Deen. To me, the plaintiff is using the issue to steal a piece of her fortune.
on June 26,2013 | 08:55AM
serious wrote:
That's what lawsuits are all about $$$$$. Did you hear that the NAACP was complaining to CNN that not enough blacks are on their program? So now they are broadcasting American's 10 most wanted twice a day!!!!
on June 26,2013 | 09:31AM
inverse wrote:
If anyone looks at the WHOLE story with Deen her issues go far beyond just the use of the N word. To start the story does not describe how Deen was planning to host a "slave themed" party where only African Americans would serve and dress in traditional slave outfits. Don't see any difference between Deen and Faye Hano hano except their hate is on the opposite side of a race "war" as they see it in their eyes. Both only regret getting caught and put on academy awards apology acts to save their business or their power in State government. Deen will continue to do well in her restaurants in the deep south, however her days as a cooking celebrity on the national level is pretty much over.
on June 26,2013 | 08:59AM
mitt_grund wrote:
For well over 200 years, comments and world views like Deen's were accepted as gospel in the U.S. and most of the western world. The dominant white European populations considered themselves the chosen people and acted that way. How Deen is really inside and among family and friends, only she and they know. Even locals discriminate. "Can't you find a person of your own race to consort with, marry, etc.?" Local Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Chinese, Caucasians, etc., all do it. But the times, they are a-changing. Lawsuit by former WHITE employee/manager claims that Deen's behavior is ongoing, at least to the time covered by the lawsuit, and constitutes a consistent pattern of harassment and discrimination, both racial and sexual. Since the typical PR claim against such lawsuits is that the plaintiffs are only doing it for money or extortion, the verdict is still outstanding. But Deen really did herself proud -- her performance would have made a crocodile smile and tear in appreciation.
on June 26,2013 | 09:36AM
inverse wrote:
Yes, just recently I finally understood why Obama got a 2nd term. Why did so many Americans, despite knowing Obama's failures in his first term, vote for him again? For example, Bill O'Reilly could not understand why Asian Americans as a group had higher levels of income and education and would have been financially BETTER off if Romney was President, in overwhelming numbers voted for Obama? O'Reilly looked at only their financial perspective but NOT on an emotional perspective in dealing with ongoing racial issues that non-Caucasians have to face. Good or bad, many Americans voted for Obama for the symbolic purposes of who he was and what he represented. Unfortunately racism in the US is alive and well and pops up in unexpectedly in notable people such as Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, locally Faye Hano hano and now Paula Deen. In high school, remember having to read the book Black Like Me by John Griffin, a white journalist posing as a black man traveling through the deep south in the late 1950's and this 2013 story shows some things never change.
on June 26,2013 | 10:18AM
hilocal wrote:
inverse, also some of us who would have been better off economically under a president Romney remember our grandparents and parents who would have been much worse off under him. That's why we couldn't vote for Romney.
on June 27,2013 | 05:56AM
Skyler wrote:
I think you got the story wrong about the wedding. I read a verbatim account of it and it wasn't as you stated. I'd post a link to it but you know the rules. You'll have to search for it. She is the polar opposite of F. Hanohano - the latter exudes hatred openly, while the other offhandedly used a common word used in the South 25-30 years ago. Gulf of difference there.
on June 26,2013 | 11:17AM
inverse wrote:
Reviewed available info on the web and I believe my statment is accurate. The slave-themed wedding came out on depositions with the sex ual- racial harassment lawsuit against her and her restaurant. Some of Deen's quotes from Fo x News."........ Deen gives further details explaining that she actually got the idea from another restaurant where “That restaurant represented a certain era in America… after the Civil War, before the Civil War… It was not only black men, it was black women… I would say they were slaves.” .....,,
on June 26,2013 | 11:30AM
false wrote:
Paula I'm busy right now. Can I ignore you some other time?
on June 26,2013 | 10:16AM
lokela wrote:
She may have said things a long time ago but there is also a current racial discrimination lawsuit against her and her brother. Don't forget about her diabetic incidence. Her character makeup as whole may now be in question. Time will be the deciding factor on how all this plays out for her.
on June 26,2013 | 12:10PM
hnlstar808 wrote:
time for Paula D to retire
on June 26,2013 | 12:14PM
Ripoff wrote:
fake tears....
on June 26,2013 | 01:31PM
laachang wrote:
Geez!! "They" should come to Hawaii and see how we poke fun at each other's ethnicity here. We'd all be shot on the spot!!
on June 26,2013 | 01:47PM
Anonymous wrote:
The difference she wasn't poking fun.
on June 26,2013 | 03:30PM
tutulois wrote:
Fine -- she can go on being herself, and the rest of us will be free to ignore her and her horrid recipes! People who can't apologize really scare me.
on June 26,2013 | 01:51PM
aomohoa wrote:
"I is who I is" she said.
on June 26,2013 | 08:03PM
hanoz808 wrote:
go to the Food Channel Paula!..... then when all those sponsors that dropped you ask for you back, charge them more!
on June 26,2013 | 02:01PM
magicman1433 wrote:
She has the support of Glenn Beck? She's in big trouble now...
on June 26,2013 | 02:27PM
ya_think wrote:
You people crack me up, show me one local person who has never said "Ha ole" " Fl ip" "Ja p" or any other slang words that depict other races, how about pap olo any one use that. You people need to get a grip.
on June 26,2013 | 03:40PM
hanalei395 wrote:
"Ha ole" is in the Hawaiian dictionary and it is NOT derogatory.It means Caucasian. And before people of other races began arriving in Hawai'i, "Ha ole" then meant foreigner. And before that, when Hawaiians saw Capt. Cook and crew, with bad teeth and with what looked to them, unhealthy skin, they were thought to be, "without breath" ....."ha ole".
on June 26,2013 | 06:07PM
Kate53 wrote:
It isn't one insensitive remark that's doing her in. People need to read the complaints against her, her family, their restaurant. They also need to read her deposition. It's frightening how she ignored what was going on, by her own admission in her deposition.
on June 26,2013 | 03:52PM
manaolana wrote:
Politicians in D.C. can use the word and later say how sorry they are for using that word, without being dropped from their Office. Paula is being punished for what others get away with.
on June 26,2013 | 04:16PM
Mahalo wrote:
I am not sure if Walmart should be one to speak.. I beleive recently they have been targets of racial discrimantion and didn't they not pay hispanic workers as much as white workers????
on June 26,2013 | 04:46PM
Mahalo wrote:
I did watch her interview this morning.. One thing she touched on and its so true is people of races use racial slurs all the time. Africian American's call each other N all the time.. its in so many lyrics of songs Us portaguees poke fun and the the comedian flips make fun of the filipinos. Heaven forbid anyone ever attain Frank Delima or Augie T shows
on June 26,2013 | 04:49PM
dolfop00126 wrote:
I think you are a good person, and I love your show. Take Care. Barbara
on June 26,2013 | 04:53PM
honupono wrote:
creepy fat man.
on June 26,2013 | 06:31PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Always be professional. Never can tell where the jealous person will lurk. Never give him or her a chance to skin you.
on June 26,2013 | 07:01PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Martha Stewart recovered from her insider stock trade. Have patience Paula. We are praying for you.
on June 26,2013 | 07:04PM
magicman1433 wrote:
I guess now we know who Oprah's next interview is...
on June 26,2013 | 07:24PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Just like those dimwits that continue to fly Confederate flags around and claim "state's rights" was behind the Civil War, Deen is in denial. I think she likes black folks just fine, as long as they know their place at the table- that would be beside it, holding a tray.
on June 26,2013 | 08:59PM
kolohepalu wrote:
She and Glenn Beck should go riding off into the sunset in an old Ford pickup with dog Chapman chained in the back- then they go off a cliff and burn up.
on June 26,2013 | 09:14PM
lynnh wrote:
What is appalling is this woman is being persecuted for something she said 30 years ago. What is wrong with this country.
on June 26,2013 | 09:48PM
awahana wrote:
America. The land of hypocrites.
How many involved now in canceling and ending her program and products have not also used that slur?
Its like people in this country who go to church every Sunday, and still drink, smoke, cuss, have premarital sex, and who knows what else sins...
That's why other nations look at our teen pregnancy rates, victimless drug crimes and all the other crazy stats we have, as a 'god fearing nation' and just shake their head. I shake more than my head.
on June 27,2013 | 07:24AM
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