Paula Deen is falling apart.
Her tearful appearance on the Today show Wednesday morning clearly surprised Matt Lauer, who made multiple attempts to get the interview back on track as Deen tried to save her reputation by saying she wasn’t racist.
Fans of hers were outraged when the Food Network announced its decision to drop Deen from the network, but it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise if you look at her history. Deen has always been somewhat of a loose cannon, and this isn’t the first controversy of hers that has threatened the Food Network’s image.
The public outcry that followed the release of Deen’s court deposition might just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Food Network and other partners who have recently severed ties with Deen.
As Deen said during her Today interview, she is facing a lot of scrutiny from people who don’t know her personally. But regardless of her character, the outspoken celebrity chef has never been one to avoid controversy.
In 2012, a profane blooper reel emerged that shows Deen cursing, performing a sex act on an eclair, and saying a dish smells like 'stinky coochie.'
Deen reportedly wanted the video screened before her appearances at live cooking events, but the man running the tour refused. He told the New York Post that Celebrity Chef Tours 'found it to be unacceptable because it's certainly not family content.'
Deen said the check from Celebrity Chef Tours bounced, so she backed out of it and sued Gary Ravet, the president of the company for $1.25 million, according to the New York Post. He then countersued for $40 million, citing a breach of contract from Deen.
The suit settled out of court, and the terms of the deal are confidential (although Ravet reportedly said Deen 'paid a lot of money').
The hosts drank mojitos on the February segment, but Deen insisted that hers didn't contain alcohol and her rep denied the drinking allegations to TMZ. She might not have been drunk, but she certainly was outrageous.
Paula Deen spoke at the New York Times headquarters in 2012 and talked about her ancestors, who reportedly owned slaves.
She said her great-grandfather had a hard time dealing with the end of the Civil War and the loss of his slaves, whom Deen referred to as 'workers.'
She later pulled her friend Hollis Johnson on stage, joked about how she couldn't see him against 'that black board' in the background and called him 'my son from another father' to show that Southern attitudes toward race have changed.
Producers for one of Paula Deen's TV shows had to dissuade her from naming one of her dishes 'the Sambo burger' after two people named Sam and Beau. The word has a racist connotation and was used to describe black people mostly in the first half of the 20th century.
In her 2006 memoir, Deen also wrote about her regrets about hitting a black girl with a bolo bat to break the blisters on her hands. The girl's mother went to jail after the incident.
She hid her diabetes from fans and the Food Network until a drug company endorsement deal came through.
In 2012, Paula Deen announced that she has diabetes. She's known for her calorie-heavy dishes (including desserts), so the news brought some heavy criticism for Deen.
Deen only revealed her diabetes only after she signed a seven-figure endorsement deal with drug company Novo Nordisk. She reportedly hid the disease from Food Network executives before she decided to reveal it publicly.
Bourdain's tirade against Paula Deen got a lot of attention in 2011. He said in an interview with TV Guide, 'She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you.' He also dissed her cooking.
Deen responded by saying Bourdain 'needs to get a life' and that she cooks 'for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills.'
She released a series of apology videos after she admitted in a court deposition to using the N-word in the past.
Shortly before the Food Network announced that it's dropping her, Paula Deen released some awkward apology videos in which she begged forgiveness from her fans and said she was sorry for cancelling a Today show appearance after news of the scandal broke.
Deen said: 'I want to apologise to everybody for the wrong that I've done. ... I want to learn and grow from this.' She also 'inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.'
This might be the final straw that brings down Paula Deen's empire. Some quotes from her court deposition were pretty shocking, and many people were outraged after it came out.
She went on the Today show Wednesday morning to try and salvage her reputation, but the damage might already be done. Walmart, Smithfield Foods, and the Food Network have all announced they're severing ties with her.
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