HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Breaking News...Food Network won't renew Paula Deen's contract

LOCKED DISCUSSION

This was announced after she made the video apology...
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/pe...

  1. after she made two video apologies which were both absurd.

    1. Good riddens. Her voice and manner drove me nuts.

        1. Didn't they let Robert Irvine go at one point only to bring him back? Wonder if the same will happen here.

          Hope she saved some of her money, I bet she loses endorsements too.

          79 Replies
          1. re: Jpan99

            Imus and Dog the Bounty Hunter were fired for similar things. After about a year or two, they seem to come back. They were on different networks.

            Robert Irvine was fired for making up his resume, so the reason was different for him.

            1. re: Antilope

              Re: Irvine. I'm continually surprised he has not one but two FN shows. Somehow I can't help but feel he's a phony in chef's whites... I don't like what Paula said in her deposition. But I have a feeling we haven't heard the last of her either.

              1. re: Gio

                I feel exactly the same way about Robert Irvine Gio. I have zero respect for him and can't tolerate even hearing him on tv.

                As for Paula, she should never, ever, be on tv again. I wouldn't give her another minute of air time. I'm appalled by her actions. Truly sickening.

                I believe I have one of her cookbooks and a magazine. Both will be on their way to the recycling bin in the morning.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  I cringe when Robert Irvine teaches a chef on his Restaurant Impossible how to make a dish. They dishes he creates usually don't really make sense.

                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                    Have to agree. How do you take advice from a guy who, lied about his experience?

                    And until he got his show Kitchen Nightmares...sorry Restaurant Impossible. He was a cook in the navy and worked in hotel catering. No experience owning and running a restaurant.

                    1. re: Withnail42

                      I just don't get why FN keeps him w so many other great real chefs out there.

                        1. re: Withnail42

                          OMG, I'll never be able to purge that image from my memory. Why did I click on that!?

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            OH , its as bad as Oseland on Top Chef Masters last year - the beach one.............

                              1. re: Withnail42

                                Ah yes, Paula riding Robert like Seattle Slew.
                                *shiver*

                                1. re: Withnail42

                                  Paula licking Robert's chest...Withnail, what WERE you thinking. Words fail me, thank god I already had a drink in hand when I saw that <sigh>

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    Didn't think I should have to suffer alone.

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Thank you (I think) for thinking of us, so generous of you ;-)

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      I think people have been banned from Chowhound for lesser offenses than that link... ; )

                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                        Have her poor sons left the country yet? She's obviously gone over the edge.

                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        I hate all his endorsements, ie cysco etc...and worse are his honeymoon pictures on FN website. Yuck!!!

                                        1. re: Gloriaa

                                          Don't let his wife hear you say that. He married a lady wrestler. ;-) I'm surprised she didn't get Paula in a headlock after that picture.

                                          1. re: Antilope

                                            I don't really want to think about what the three of them 'did' after the photo was taken.

                                          2. re: Gloriaa

                                            Could not believe Irvine endorses Sysco...that's one of our standard restaurant-critic insults "those onion rings came right out of the Sysco bag"

                                            One wonders what all the fuss was about when FN kicked off that JAG dude on NFNS a few years ago for lying about something. It seems to be SOP at "The Network"

                                        2. re: Withnail42

                                          He had several seasons of Dinner Impossible before the scandal about his resume came out. A restaurant deal fell through because of that, and Symon replaced him for a season on DI. But evidently he'd proven himself as a TV personality and cook, and they brought him back for more season(s) of DI. His RI show builds on that DI experience, not on royal cake baking or restaurant startups. Now he has more restaurant make overs to his credit than anyone else. Judge him for those, not earlier experience (or lack there of).

                                          I suspect that people who keep bringing up his lies never liked him in the first place.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            Thanks for the recaps, but well aware of how it all went down. And his lies are sort of a big issue. They being brought up now in context of FH giving people second chances.

                                            Actually I had nothing against him before the 'scandal'. Now he just strikes me as an egotistical blowhard. Who got lucky with a job based on a fabricated resume.

                                            For whatever reason FN brass took a shine and found a way to bring him back. Then follow that old pattern of reusing the same people over and over again.

                                            TV episodes are not real world experience. He’s a disgraced institutional catering cook giving business, ethical and psychological advice to restaurateurs. It’s an oil water thing; don't really mix too well.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I actually do like him - personality wise, and maybe I'm naive but he seems to care about the people he is trying to help. I think he understand the restaurant biz. BUT, I don't respect him as a chef and that would be the case even if I didn't know about his lies. I see what he cooks and I don't like what I see.

                                            2. re: Withnail42

                                              Exactly. And the food he used to do on Dinner Impossible and on RI reflects his navy cooking style. It's hardly fine dining. I cringe when they call him chef!

                                              1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                Having employed a number of former Navy cooks over a 35+ year in the food industry, I can tell you they are usually very well trained and possess skills that many culinary school grads do not. No, their cooking isn't refined like you'd find in an upscale restaurant :-), but then again, trying to feed 5,000+ people on a floating city in the middle of the ocean isn't about refinement :-)

                                                I've always said give me a kitchen full of Mexicans & ex-military and we could rock out some great food.

                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  I will say in fairness to Irvine that the cooks in the Royal Navy are generally well trained. Often they are called on do the service for big sate occasions.

                                                  The top tier of cooks were eligible to work aboard the Royal Yacht. When there was one.

                                                  The fact that Irvine did work on the Royal Yacht does mean that he was a good navy cook and a sailor in good standing.

                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                    Yes. Fine dining restaurants are actually made to work by groups of fast, talented accurate cooks, mostly Latino, African American. Without them 75% of FD would go dark.

                                                    And they are as smart and inventive as they are allowed to be, in most FD not much. They can do nearly anything in any language.

                                                    Bourdain often ticks me off but he nailed this issue. Military cooks too. Economical, smart about production cost and timing. And yeah - some of them taught me how-to.

                                                    Little flash, lots of results. Go Navy

                                                  2. re: wincountrygirl

                                                    Did Symon do any better when he had DI for a season?

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      Not really. I like Symon, even embrace the crazy laugh, but he seemed to be pinch hitting for RI.
                                                      I think DI took a very specific personality and RI hit it.

                                                  3. re: Withnail42

                                                    restaurant impossible is a lot better than fox's bastardized kitchen nightmares where ramsay does a whole lot of nothing.

                                                    1. re: catroast

                                                      But RI will never top the KN "amy's baking company" episode for epicness.

                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        Nor should it :-). I happen to live just down the street from one of the restaurants that was featured (season 2) on RI and he did help. The place is still open, doing more than $1 mil gross a year and will probably make it. The place didn't have the horrible range of problems (i.e. wasn't dirty, cooks knew how to cook, engaged and commited owner) that many of the other restos featured seem to have, so maybe it was an easier fix than others, but the owner does credit RI for helping her sort out the issues and get them under control.

                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                          I sure the 'brain trust' over at FN is busy looking for their own 'Amy' as we speak.

                                                  4. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    That'll fix her! She'll be crushed that you threw away what you already paid for

                                              2. re: Jpan99

                                                Depending on what happens in the meantime - I definitely think it's reasonable to assume that in a year or two she might be brought back.

                                                There are numerous examples of celebrities having shows canceled or losing endorsements and then coming back.

                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                  It'll depend on public sentiment, I expect, and I can't imagine people clamoring for her return. Who knows, though. I rooted for Tiger's comeback but am happy that Mel's career remains in the toilet. Deen's current troubles seem to be a last-straw situation following her hawking the diabetic prescription. One bad might be forgivable for her fans, but the second might make them write her off. (Hopefully, IMO)

                                                  1. re: KrumTx

                                                    I totally agree. This wasn't her 1st huge PR screwup.

                                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                                      She's had some whoppers, hasn't she? She's got that matronly thing going on with the thick-as-mollasses-in-January accent that helps.

                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                        She has but this is a human rights violation isn't it? Surely folks have a right to be treated with dignity and respect.

                                                        Some may forgive but who will forget this.

                                                        Horrifying.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          BC, I agree with you 100% about people being treated with respect and dignity, but how is what Paula said any different than the millionaire rappers who liberally use the "N" word in their songs (if that's what you can call them) along with lyrics that extol rape and abuse of women.

                                                          I am no fan of Paula Deen, in fact I would sit through a Rachel Ray marathon before I could watch 10 mintues of a Paula Deen show. And I certainly can't condone her comments or sentiments, but damn it, where is the outrage over the rampant use of the "N" word in the music industry. You don't see record producers dumping their "talent" over the use of the "N" word. Why is it more acceptable for these filthy mouth rappers to use the "N" word than it is for an older, annoying white woman to use it?

                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                            Right or wrong, African Americans feel they own the word and can use it, and can also decide who cannot use it. Some defend that their using it is taking the word back from other races who use it pejoratively.
                                                            Just the explanation I've heard many times. I think the word should go away, but I have no control over any AA person saying it.
                                                            I'm pretty sure I remember Jessie Jackson calling Obama the N word on a hot mike on TV, and the fallout was brief and minimal.

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              You can say things about your family or your ethnic group that would make your hair stand on end if they came from other people. This is no different.

                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                I don't want to revisit territory hashed out on the (now locked) thread, but I will say that there's a vast difference between language used by a comedian or musician in an entertainment setting, and that used by the CEO of a corporation. It's called a hostile work environment, and Deen's remarks qualify.

                                                                I hear so many people saying this, but it's clearly an apples and oranges comparison.

                                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                                  I understand you point and I don't necessarily disagree with it. I simply think that there is a double standard at play here. Racism is alive and well in the United States (as witnessed by the uproar during the NBA finals when a Hipsanic kid born in TX was vilifiled because of his brown skin)

                                                                  I don't hear white folks walking around calling each other whitey, and I don't hear Mexicans walking around calling each other cholo, beaner, or worse. So why is it okay for Blacks/African Americans to use the "N" word when referring to each other? I've heard Black educators, business people, politicians and entertainers all bemoan the fact that this is happening and it does nothing for the African American image (if that's the right word). CH is not the place to be having this discussion, so consider my question/comment rhetorical. Just sayin' there's a double standard at work here that needs to be examined, that's all.

                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                    Did you READ the actual deposition? The lawsuit is NOT about the word. That's just one anecdote.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      I read what was posted on line at the time this story broke, and yes, I am aware that the lawsuit is not about use of the word.

                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                        If you read the actual deposition, you know that this is not at all a case about a single indiscrete use of an ugly word and whether black folks should be allowed to use it if she can't get away with it, right?

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          What if Paula Deen, her family & entire executive staff were black?

                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                            They're not. And despite all the sensationalism and knee jerk reactions; this is about employment conditions.

                                                                            Anyone of any race who'd engaged in the variety and frequency of abusive employment practices alleged here, though, would quite likely find themselves engaged in a similar lawsuit.

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              I wonder how all the behind the scenes employees in the entertainment & recording industry feel when they hear MUCH, MUCH worse on a daily basis. I guess we make exceptions for those employment conditions.

                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                Did you read the deposition? There are laws about acceptable work place policies and behavior. That's what the case is about.

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  So its acceptable in certain circumstances but not others. I think I see!

                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                    Why is that a problem? It's not acceptable to go to work in a bathing suit, but it's acceptable to go to the beach in one. It's acceptable to eat fried chicken with your fingers at a picnic, but not in a four star restaurant. It's acceptabe to tell a risque joke to your buddes down at the bar, but not in church.

                                                                                    These are basic standards of appropriate behavior that at least most adults learn, and I really don't get why you're so worked up over them. It's not hypocrisy, it's maturity.

                                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                                      JonParker, maybe Paula is not really a bad person but just has, um, a mental illness. That is the defense you used for Amy of ABC being a rotten person. Why not apply that same excuse in this case?

                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                        I haven't seen any evidence that she's mentally ill, although it's entirely possible. If so I hope she gets the help she needs. I will say that Amy wasn't able to keep herself together long enough to film a single one hour TV show, while Ms. Deen has been shooting three at once. If she is ill, she's good at covering it up. And I'm not being snarky, that's entirely possible.

                                                                                      2. re: JonParker

                                                                                        The use of the "N" word and the other stereotypical material should not be tolerated under any circumstances. To equate that with when to wear a bathing suit, or when to lick your fingers is preposterous.

                                                                                      3. re: Tom34

                                                                                        Not if you think that's wrong. Of COURSE rules of conduct are situational; in this case they're encoded in the law.

                                                                                    2. re: Tom34

                                                                                      The lawsuit is about the workplace.

                                                                                      If your statement is that similar hostile work environments exist in the entertainment business - then those employees would have the ability to sue as well. However, this is not the same as calling the police with an anonymous tip of "this is a hostile work environment" - but rather hiring a lawyer, keeping a log of the incidents, and engaging legal action with your employer. In the entertainment industry, which is already difficult to get into, filing such a complaint would most likely be seen as a fast way out of the entertainment industry.

                                                                                      Not to mention, if you're working for a small entity that itself is not rich - suing might just serve to alienate yourself from that business and not even result in receiving much of a settlement. So when you say that "we" make those exceptions - it's moreso that the individual employees (who are perhaps subjected to a hostile work environment) make those exceptions.

                                                                                      The Deen case represents a situation where the employee could be sure that the corporation she worked for could pay - and also if she wants to get another job in the restaurant/hospitality industry - it's a large sector that is not highly exclusive. Not to mention, given the size of the claim - there's a solid chance she was likely to find an attorney to take the case for no money upfront with the understanding of taking x percentage of a settlement/fees assigned by the court.

                                                                                      Filing a claim of a hostile work environment is not the same as leaving an anonymous tip for Child Protective Services where they then do the rest and the tipster can remain anonymous.

                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                        What he is saying is that if Paula's work environment can be considered hostile because she used the N word, why aren't employees of entertainment companies who promote rappers and comedians who use the word automatically guilty of it.

                                                                                        It's an argument that can only be made if you have the moral reasoning of a small child (and I don't mean that to be snarky -- children are very literal when it comes to right and wrong) and can't account for different circumstances, different meanings and different balances of power.

                                                                                        Under that reasoning, there is no moral difference between speeding though traffic for fun and speeding to get a passenger having a heart attack to a hospital. They are both speeding, speeding is against the law, therefore treating them differently is hypocritical. It's a mindset I can't really fathom but see enough of.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                                                          For a start, you are correct that the difference of circumstance in how/when language is used is important. Someone's "artistic content" in a recorded album is different than how they treat production assistants. Similarly, if someone's working at Playboy and wants to attest to sexual harrassment - that has to include something other than seeing nude bodies on photo shoots (though if you worked at a Kinkos and there were nude photo shoots, you probably could sue for sexual harrassment).

                                                                                          However, my basic point is still really relevant. Let's say that employee X is working for a production company. In addition to the content of an album being "adult" - that adult language is used in how employees in the studio are refered to, talked about, etc. Employee X feels uncomfortable with this. Employee X would have to hire an attorney and sue for a hostile workplace. Whether or not they'd be successful - it'd be a fast ticket out of the entertainment business.

                                                                                          So while the context of offensive language in the creation of "art" is different - so too is the risk of what legal action will do the employee's career.

                                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                                            To equate speeding and placing the public's well being in jeopardy during a life threatening situation to speeding for fun is laughable. Try again. Amusing, but irrelevant.

                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                              Well, you see my point, but not how it relates to what you said.

                                                                                              Two words that don't mean the same thing: equate & compare.

                                                                                          2. re: cresyd

                                                                                            OK, its about the money!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                        2. re: mcf

                                                                                          My guess is that it is more frequent than most would imagine and more severe. Want to hear abuse, allow illegals the same rights to bring lawsuits. I seriously doubt anybody lost any sleep or was prescribed Valium to calm their nerves in the Deen case. This is about following a rainbow to a pot of gold, for which the Deen's have nobody to blame but themselves.

                                                                              2. re: JonParker

                                                                                Totally agree.

                                                                                This is an employment discrimination issue

                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                  Employer discrimination issue? What about employee discrimination against an employer?

                                                                                  Consider this: When someone grows up in a certain “racial environment” (she was born in Georgia in 1947), it is rare that all of the “attitudes” attached to that environment are left behind completely in that culture in less than a century or more. It takes three generations for families to adjust to abrupt change in the family’s coming into wealth or sudden loss of wealth, and sometimes that long when it comes to cultural changes. PD is from a less-than-wealthy background, grew up at a time when The South was still resentful of losing the Civil War, and the culture among the less educated (non-professional) people held on to the “slave culture” mentality of the deep south. Lynchings were still happening. Blacks were still considered “sub human” and a threat to “whites”. I know that for a fact because I witnessed it first hand when my husband and I were sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1956 while he went to Air Traffic Control School at Keesler Air Force Base. It was my first trip out of California. For the first (and hopefully last) time in my life I had to contend with segregated drinking fountains, segregated restrooms (come on! When you gotta go you gotta go, and who cares who’s in the next stall?), and I almost got myself lynched when I stopped to help a black woman who I had accidentally bumped into through my own carelessness and sent her Christmas packages sprawling all over the sidewalk. I was told by passersby not to help that n----r, and the poor woman whispered to me, “Thank you, Child, but you go on now before you gets us both into terrible trouble! But thankye.” I walked away crying. And no, it was not just Mississippi. I know for a fact that this atmosphere was status quo throughout all of the former Confederate States.

                                                                                  Paula Deen comes from a working class background. The U.S. had just “abruptly” come out of the Great Depression by way of World War Two when she was born. My point is that even after the Civil Rights movement (1955 to 1968), and the forceful end of segregation when she was a young woman, this way of thinking did not just vanish into thin air, and all was suddenly right with the world. While many in the Deep South, Paula Deen included, gave up segregation physically and tried to be “politically correct,” that does not mean that the mean and cruel humor of segregation and the resentment that still echoes to this day about losing the Civil War all vanished as well.

                                                                                  So, bottom line is Paula Deen is as much a victim of her environment as she is of the Food Network firing her. The woman *IS* a hard worker! She works 24/7, BUT… She and she alone has turned herself into a caricature of what Dolly Parton describes as “Poor White Trash,” with the wigs (my god, I HOPE they are wigs!) and more make-up than any Ru Paul Drag Queen. The “ya’ll” drawl is thicker than any other living “Southern Lady” I know of, not that Southern Ladies ever really talked like her in the first place.

                                                                                  And you’re right. I am not a Paula Deen fan. But these are not the reasons why. I have not been a Paula Deen fan from the get-go BECAUSE she has been hyping a dangerous diet under the pretense of “love.” If you love people, you don’t serve them the proverbial “Heart Attack on a Plate” every chance you get. But it sold, and the Food Network SOLD her and her diet!

                                                                                  Is the Food Network bad? You betcha! They pitch gluttony and excess, damned little “intelligent gourmet,” and they laugh all the way to the bank.

                                                                                  However, I suspect Paula Deen has been a thorn in their side for some time now. I suspect there is a whoooooooooole lot of politics going on. But after seeing those pictures of Paula Deen riding on What’s His Name’s back playing cowboy, and licking whipped cream off his navel, (and those are pictures from 2011!), well, I suspect Paula Deen has done a whole lot to alienate a WHOLE LOT of people on the Network(s) side of the curtain. How many times have they told her to “tone it down”? And… ummm… why does anyone need to tell her that?

                                                                                  I do suspect that she has serious stress related problems, but she has had advisors all along. In my opinion, she has to look in a mirror to see the person who is ultimately and wholly responsible for this mess. And I feel great great compassion for her sons.

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                    Hi Caroline,

                                                                                    You brought out many very interesting and relevant points. Very, very difficult and sensitive subject transcending many generations. One thing that comforts me is that each generation seems to be more tolerant of people that are perceived as being different. Given we are the melting pot of the world, I think we have done a remarkable job but change does take time. Our local High School has so many diverse clubs and the tolerance is incredible compared to years past. There most certainly will be bumps in the road, but I think the road leads in the right direction.

                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                      Thank you for such an eloquent analysis, Caroline1.

                                                                              3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                Gawker has worked to collect all the responses of people who right now are mad at FN for canceling her show.

                                                                                Not to mention that there are numerous American celebrities caught in horrible criminal acts who have comeback chapters. Chris Brown is an example of someone caught/pled guilty - has barely apologized or appeared contrite - and still has a music career.

                                                                                If Chris Brown can win another Grammy Award - Paula Deen will find another television station to take her in, IF that's what she wants. I think a huge test is that a previously taped episode of Masterchef involves Paula Deen. This is a competition program, so completely dropping the episode could be quite difficult. So when this episode airs, it'll be interesting to see how it's edited - how much face time? Are the judges/contestants shown being physically affectionate? How much is she praised? Is she nearly entirely cut from the episode? Do they entirely cut the episode despite really messing with the show's continuity? This episode will air in a month or so.....and will be a good test with how a large network wants to deal with her.

                                                                          2. re: KrumTx

                                                                            Martha Stewart went to jail, Kobe Bryant's legal troubles - not to mention all of the politicians chased out of office for one reason or another and make it back into the public eye or even be re-elected.

                                                                            I don't think she'll be get a new show in the next year, or if she does that it'll necessarily be on FN. But there are lots of smaller networks looking to get a piece of the pie and get attention. And after a year from now, there will be a new person out there who's offended more.

                                                                            If she wants to make it back, there will be an opportunity for her. I firmly believe that.

                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                              I agree that it's certainly possible. I don't watch much FN anymore - Ina and Next Iron Chef are the only ones I like, but I'll be the-most-naive-person-on-the-planet and say I hope FN fills Paula's slot with someone who can actually teach me to be a better cook.

                                                                              1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                Food Network will probably hire Jerry Springer and stage food fights. ;-)

                                                                                1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                  HA!!! They don't have those on Food Network, I have learned things from Anne Burrell and I do like Ina, but the rest of them .... good grief, but Food Network - instruct??????? LOL

                                                                          3. re: Jpan99

                                                                            I think Food Network needs to distance itself from the eye of the storm. If they don't react in some positive way it makes them look just as bad. When things calm down, in a year or two, I bet she shows up again with some new gimmick. Like someone said, if Martha can go to prison and come back even stronger, who knows what's possible!

                                                                            1. re: Jpan99

                                                                              It won't even take that long. Out of the news cycle by the end of the weekend, self-righteous finger pointing aimed in another direction in a month, Paula makes amends by the end of the year. This time next year it's a distant memory.

                                                                              1. re: Samalicious

                                                                                I dunno. Being publicly painted as a racist is different than insider trading.

                                                                          4. Curious how it will effect Bobby's show.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                                                              I don't think that Paula is going to be tasting Bobby's magically teleporting food.

                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                "I'm sitting here looking at a big plate of crow, Bobby!"

                                                                              2. re: ennuisans

                                                                                Would he even have a show if his name were Bobby Wilson or Bobby Smith? He got a show because Paula is his mother.