Poll: Is It Time to Forgive Paula Deen?
Just when we had completely forgotten about Paula Deen, she appears to be trying to meander her way back into our lives. Apparently, Deen is on the new season of Dancing with the Stars, which premiered this week. (An Einstein-like Vegas oddsmaker said that the over-buttered chef is the least likely contestant to win.) And, more locally, Deen recently announced an appearance at Valley Forge Casino in October.
In case you’re hazy on the details of the Great Paula Deen Public Relations Debacle of 2013, let us remind you. In a deposition taken for a discrimination lawsuit filed against Deen, the chef made some troubling admissions. When asked if she had ever used the n-word, she cavalierly replied, “Yes, of course.” She also admitted to tolerating racist jokes and allowing pornography in her kitchens.
The revelations in the lawsuit made her Public Enemy Number One for a time, and she didn’t exactly handle the whole mess very well. She released two bizarre apology videos that seemed more like terrorist-produced videos of a hostage in captivity. And she failed to show up for a much-hyped Today face-to-face with Matt Lauer. And then, in what seemed to be a career-killing development, the Food Network gave Deen the boot, after a lucrative 11-year relationship.
Since then, Deen had been virtually invisible, save for the launch of her own “channel” on streaming service Roku. There was also a brief blip this past July, when an image was published by Deen’s social media accounts, depicting Deen and her son posing as Lucy and Desi, complete with her son in apparent “brownface” to make him look more Cuban. Insensitive and historically inaccurate, since Desi Arnaz was actually white. But that flap was just that, a flap, probably in part because Deen had become pretty irrelevant.
Now, though, Deen is once again in the national spotlight thanks to Dancing with the Stars, which was Monday night’s top-rated television series, garnering some 13.6 million viewers. She’ll certainly get booted off soon, and her performance thus far has been nothing short of embarrassing, although what would you expect from an obese 68-year-old woman who has spent most of her life around a frying pan?
There haven’t been any calls to boycott the inexplicably popular ABC show, even though there were such rumblings over Bristol Palin and Chaz Bono’s appearances on it. So what gives: Have we forgotten about Deen’s transgressions, or is it just time to forgive her and move on?