“I is what I is,” cried Paula Deen on the Today show, “and I ain’t changin’!”
Oh honey, maybe you should. Because darlin’, it looks like y’all a racist fool! And those crocodile tears you bin sheddin’ on TV? They ain’t gonna bring those millions back. No ma’am. They’s as good as gone.
Taking a break from deep frying lard, Deen has made the traditional switch to summer grilling. Only in her case, she’s the one sizzling on the hot coals. Her vast food empire, worth over $17 million, is comprised of branded restaurants, books, food products, cookware and fashion accessories that reflect her Southern roots. But that empire is crumbling after allegations that she regularly used racist language, discriminated against black employees and humiliated them.
In a teary confession, Deen admitted to using racist language but only in two types of circumstances. Once, when a black man held a gun to her head when she worked as a bank teller, and, then when she is quoting her black employees. She invokes the sinister flavour of Southern Gothic when she says that “something evil” is setting people against her and is out to destroy her wealth.
Deen may wish to reach into her handbag, pull out a mirrored compact and take a good look. That “something evil” is right there. (And I don’t mean the horrendous make-up job or the Javex-white teeth, though they’re a close second.)
You see, it appears that Deen has a real soft spot for the pre-Civil War era and all that that entails, as they say in the South. This includes forbidding black employees from working front-of-room at her restaurants and at the end of a busy night, hiding money throughout the dining room and then ordering the all-black kitchen staff to run around looking for it. When her younger brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers married in 2007, Deen told the party planner she wanted a “true Southern plantation-style wedding.” Her directives apparently included: “What I would really like is a bunch of little ****** (N-word) to wear long-sleeved white shirts, black shorts and black bow-ties… you know, in the Shirley Temple days, they used to dance around.”
No surprise then that in the past few days her various business partners have made for the hills. Wal-mart, Target, Caesar’s Palace, The Food Network, and Nordisk have all dropped the Southern belle as her reputation implodes.
But this is not the first time she has found herself swimming in controversy. Last year, Deen, whose specialty is unhealthy food, finally admitted to suffering from Type II diabetes and that she had accepted an endorsement deal for Victoza, an injectible, non-insulin drug prescribed for the disease.
Still, the lady has her fans. Her most recent cookbook is racing up the Amazon best-seller charts and the Paula Deen cruise on Royal Caribbean is booked up so a second date has been added in 2014. Devoted fans have stormed Wal-Marts in protest.