Scripps Networks Interactive-owned Food Network says it will not be renewing longtime host Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month, following a canceled appearance on the Today show in which Deen was expected to address controversy surrounding a deposition in which she admitted to using a racial epithet in the past.
Deen, host of various series on Food Network since 2002 – including Paula’s Home Cooking, Paula” Party and Paula’s Best Dishes – was slated to appear on the NBC morning show this past Friday to address the controversy stemming from a discrimination lawsuit launched by Lisa T. Jackson, a former general manager of Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, co-owned by Deen and brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers.
In the deposition, following a question by Jackson’s lawyer regarding if the cooking star had ever used “the N-word,” Deen replied, “Yes, of course,” but saying later in the questioning that it’s “not a word that we use as time has gone on.”
Jackson’s allegations have been called false by Deen’s lawyer.
Following the canceled Today show appearance, Deen appeared in an emotional video on YouTube, asking for forgiveness from fans, partners and family and saying, ” I want to learn and grow from this,” and that “inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.” In a subsequent, longer apology video that has been posted under her name she addresses the cancelation of the Today show appearance, and adds “my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are.”
In a statement issued to assorted press outlets following news that her contract would not be renewed by Food Network, Deen thanked the cable net for her time there, saying: “”I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories. This would not have been possible without the Food Network.”
Prior to announcing that Deen’s contract would not be renewed, the Food Network issued a statement saying it “does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion.”
Deen is expected to appear on the Today show this Wednesday.