America’s (former) favorite Southern chef is back. After being outed for making racist comments back in June and losing her job with Food Network, Paula Deen has made her first public appearance in three months. Deen made her emotional return at the Metro Cooking and Entertainment Show in Houston, Texas on Saturday.
While Deen has been raked over the coals after she admitted to using the N-word during a deposition in a race-based lawsuit, a group of more than 1,000 fans was thrilled to see the chef at the cooking show. The audience gave Deen a standing ovation, which brought the 66-year-old Georgia native to tears. “I’ve said all along that the one place that I would want to make my first step back out was Texas,” Deen told her audience. “Y’all’s hearts are as big as your state.”
“As you all know, unless you’ve been under a rock, I had a little rough patch this summer,” Deen said. Calling her vanishing job opportunities a “rough patch” might be putting things lightly. In addition to getting axed by Food Network and tarnishing her reputation after replying “Yes, of course” during a deposition when asked if she had used the N-word, Deen has lost numerous endorsements. Wal-Mart, Target, JCPenney and Sears are just a few major retailers that have discontinued items under Deen’s brand.
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Deen in August. Lisa Jackson, the former employee who brought forth the lawsuit, was told that she couldn’t sue Deen for racial discrimination against African-Americans because she is white. Jackson later released an apologetic statement and called Deen a “woman of compassion and kindness,” but the damage was already done.
Some folks were obviously very happy to see Paula Deen back in the spotlight, but others aren’t too thrilled with the cook’s sudden reemergence. “You can’t afford to remain insensitive to the history of our nation, so let’s just say I’m not a fan,” said Rodney Reynolds of Houston.
What do you think about Paula Deen getting another shot after the scandal? Add your comments below.
@Paula_Deen rootin' for ya darlin'. Truly feel like you got caught up in a PC firestorm. None of us are perfect but at least u're honest!
— chris fiedler (@dafiedla) September 16, 2013
Paula Deen cried in public in Houston at a food show today. In other news, someone had a massive coronary from one of her recipes.
— Laurie B. of U.D. (@DrivelLady) September 16, 2013