Last year, Food Network dropped cooking show host and celebrity chef Paula Deen after learning that she used racial slurs in the past. On Friday, the television network said that Deen’s contract will expire at the end of this month and they are not interested in renewing it.
The Southern cook made guest appearances on several Food Network shows in 1999. By 2002, she was able to secure her own show Paula’s Home Cooking and later had other shows, such as Paula’s Best Dishes.
Deen was the center of attention when she admitted that she used the n-word in the past. Lisa Jackson, a former manager at Deen’s restaurant, filed a complaint that exposed Deen.
Deen took to YouTube to apologize for her racist comments. She said, “I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me. But it’s what’s in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that. I am here to say I am so sorry. I was wrong, yes, I have worked hard and I made mistakes, but that is no excuse.”
A few weeks ago, the Food Network also dropped Deen’s son Jamie Deen. His show, Home for Dinner With Jamie Deen, has not been in production since 2013.
Despite being dropped by the Food Network, Deen is not losing hope and is gearing to come back with the launch of her digital network in September. “Guess who’s going digital, y’all! I’m so excited about my new online network and can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on,” Deen said in a statement.
The Paula Deen Network, which is backed by a $100 million investment from private-equity firm Najafi Cos., is a subscriber-based network that will be broadcasting cooking videos of Deen in front of an audience. Subscription fees have not been finalized.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Deen said that going digital is the next step for her, as she wants her fans to be able to reach her anytime and anywhere. “iPads are so much lighter to tote around than a TV. In a network program, you only have 22 minutes. The fans are going to see things they have never seen before,” she said.
Deen has a strong brand name that should serve her well in her new endeavor. She has 1.25 million Twitter followers and 4.25 million likes on her Facebook page.
Image via YouTube