Paula Deen, the American celebrity cook and the self-proclaimed queen of Southern farmhouse cuisine, is at risk of losing a lucrative deal with QVC after admitting to using the N-word.
The 66-year-old has a range of cookbooks, sauces, spices and kitchen utensils, but her empire has taken a hit following a $1.2 million (£780,000) lawsuit brought by the former manager of one of her restaurants.
Lisa Jackson alleges that Deen used the N-word and the cook’s brother Bubba Hiers sexually harassed her. But it is the shocking disposition, in which Deen admitted using racial epithets, that has resulted in a wave of negative publicity.
On Friday, the Food Network announced that it had dropped Deen from its channel, and now shopping network QVC has suggested it could follow suit.
A spokesperson told TMZ that QVC has “concerns” over her situation, saying: “Please know that QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behaviour.
“We are closely monitoring these events and we are reviewing our business relationship with Ms Deen. In the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”
In the deposition, she was questioned about wanting to hold a “Southern plantation-style” wedding for her brother. Deen said she wanted to be reminded of southern America “before the Civil War”.
She said it had been “a very long time” since she’d used the N-word, and it probably came at a time when she was referencing “a conversation between blacks”.
A series of apology videos were posted on YouTube after some media outlets claimed the first clip appeared to be stage-managed.
In the second video, she said: “I was wrong, yes, I’ve worked hard, and I have made mistakes, but that is no excuse and I offer my sincere apology to those that I have hurt, and I hope that you forgive me because this comes from the deepest part of my heart.”
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