Celebrity chef Paula Deen, 66, was canned by the cable channel on Friday after releasing a groveling video apology on YouTube for using the N-word and cracking racist jokes at her Savannah, Ga., restaurant.
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong I have done. I want to learn and grow from this,” she said in the 45-second video posted on YouTube. “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.”
But the ham-handed apology was not enough to save her job with the Food Network. Friday, officials at the channel, where Deen rose to fame with her brand of butter and deep-fried fueled down-home Southern cooking, said they would not renew her contract, which expires at the end of the month.
Between her TV work, speaking engagements, cookbooks, licensing and endorsements, Forbes estimates her wealth at $17 million. Network sources said she was paid between $10,000 and $20,000 for each episode of her various shows.
Deen's callous language ballooned into a humiliating scandal earlier in the week, when the star admitted in a deposition for a $1.2 million discrimination trial that she had “of course” used the N-word in the past.
In her deposition she also said: “It’s just what they are — they’re jokes ... most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks ... gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don't know — I just don't know what to say,” Deen reportedly said in her defense. “I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
The pork-and-butter loving Deen, 66, and her brother Bubba Hiers are being sued by former employee Lisa Jackson, who alleged sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at Deen and Hiers’ restaurant, Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.
Hoping to quell the controversy on Thursday, Deen’s reps said her use of the word was the product of her upbringing in the deep South. Word that Deen had been canned came on the same day that Deen backed out of a scheduled appearance on the “Today” show about the controversy.”
“I have to say I was physically not able this morning,” Deen said on another video. “The pain has been tremendous.”
“I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is trying to say we are,”" she said.