Fox & Friends--August 2011
Anyone who has watched even five minutes of Paula Deen's show knows that Anthony Bourdain was right: Paula Deen is dangerous. Certainly the fact that she kept her own diabetes secret while pushing ridiculously fat- and sugar-laden recipes didn't earn her any fans.
But it turns out that Deen is unsavory in a whole other way too. In a deposition taken in a discrimination suit, Deen admitted to using the "N word" and to wanting a "Plantation-style" wedding, replete with African American servers dressed purportedly in a way that was reminiscent of her weird Hollywood idealization of slaves.
[Former employee Lisa] Jackson’s complaint also accuses Deen of racism and enabling [Deen's brother and co-owner of restaurants Earl "Bubba"] Hiers’ behavior. According to the complaint, Deen and other managers at her companies ignored Jackson’s attempts to discuss Hiers’ behavior. As evidence that Deen “holds such racist views herself,” the complaint details an incident that occurred when Jackson was in charge of “food and serving arrangements” at Hier’s wedding in 2007. The complaint includes a comment Deen allegedly made when asked by Jackson what type of uniforms the servers should wear at the wedding.
“Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n*****s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around,” the lawsuit claims Deen said. “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”
Ick. Nothing says romantic wedding to me like hiring African American servers and demean them by insisting on them wearing funny outfits and shucking and jiving for my entertainment, amirite?
One can choose to be outraged by this kind of casual and cartoonish racism and get angry, or one can do what the Twitterverse opted to do yesterday and mock Deen relentlessly with the hashtag "#PaulasBestDishes". Sometimes, revenge is best served through Twitter:
There's a petition up at Change.org asking Food Network General Manager Bob Tuschman to take Deen off the air (remember, they suspended temporarily Robert Irvine for merely exaggerating his C.V.), though as a moneymaker for the network, he may need extra convincing.
In the meantime, I've seen some brilliant contributions to #PaulasBestDisheson Twitter. What would be your entry for #PaulasBestDishes?