Hit the brakes, America. Paula Deen has been pardoned by Jimmy Carter.
Deen has been put through the wringer since admitting to having used racial slurs in the past. But Carter, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president, said in a CNN interview that the disgraced Food Network icon had been perhaps “excessively honest in saying that she had in the past, 30 years ago, used this terrible word.”
Deen’s career has been in shambles the past two weeks after admitting in a legal deposition that she had used the “N” word in the past. Since that time, she’s been dropped by the Food Network, on which she had appeared since 2002. Other sponsors that have followed suit in severing ties with Deen include Wal-Mart, Sears, K-Mart, Walgreens, and Smithfield Foods.
Defending Deen, Carter noted that the slur was used “quite frequently” during the Jim Crow era in which Deen grew up (Deen was born in Albany, Ga. in 1947). Carter noted that he has “known Paula Deen quite well for a long period of time” and was quick to point out that Deen had sponsored social programs in Savannah that benefit, in Carter’s terms, “almost exclusively oppressed and poverty stricken black people.”
Carter has apparently conferred with Deen and advised her to get the beneficiaries of her charities to speak out on her behalf to “show she’s changed in her relationship with African-Americans.” Otherwise, Carter said that she should take some time to “let the dust settle and make apologies.”
While this has been nothing short of a disaster for Deen, it has had the effect of rallying her supporters. Not only have her fans lashed out at the Food Network, Deen’s books are selling particularly well. Her latest release, “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Recipes All Lightened Up,” was the number one bestseller on Amazon this week.