A Paula Deen fan club called “Black People for Paula” is planning a rally in Times Square.
According to the group’s website, the (as yet unnamed) founder of Black People for Paula and “over 100 of [his or her] friends” will gather outside the windows of the Good Morning America set during the show’s filming on August 16. They plan to wear pink t-shirts that feature the BPP logo and carry a large banner that says “We Forgive You Paula.”
According to the group’s founder, “The word Paula used was horrible. She has admitted that what she said was wrong and hurtful. She gave an extremely heartfelt apology and I forgive her, my family forgives her and the African American community forgives her.” The group cites Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as prominent African American leaders who have voiced some measure of forgiveness for Deen’s past use of the “N” word.
However, NewsOne, a news source that focuses on African American issues, isn’t sold on the group. Contributing Editor Kirsten West Savali says that the rally is a plot “twist straight from the Plantation Chronicles” and that the group is motivated by a need for some black Americans to “be perceived as non-threatening and friendly to White people.” Savali especially takes issue with BPP’s statement that the “African American community forgives” Deen. “Clearly,” she writes, “those sweet potatoes and fried chicken drive people insane, because the entirety of the Black community most certainly does not forgive Paula Deen.”
In addition to the hostile work environment central to Deen’s current legal imbroglio, Savali notes that Deen cracked a racially-tinged joke about President Obama in the wake of the BP oil spill (she apparently said that he ought to be able to fix the situation by “n&%@#*-rigging” it) and that she once “dreamt of having Black men in shorts and bow ties playing step’n fetchit at an Antebellum style wedding reception.”
For anyone who agrees with the group, t-shirts are for sale on its website.