Paula Deen Thanks Food Network for '11 Great Years' After Firing
Embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen issued a statement thanking the Food Network for 11 “great years” less than 24 hours after the cable channel announced it was dropping its longtime star following her admission that she used a racial slur in the past.
“I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories,” Deen, 66, said in a statement released to PEOPLE. “This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of ya’ll.”
The Food Network announced on Friday that it would not renew Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of the month. The announcement comes just days after news that Deen admitted in a May deposition to using the N-word several times in her past.
For more than a decade, Deen shined as one of the biggest stars of the Food Network and earned legions of fans – and some critics – for her brand of hearty Southern cooking.
PEOPLE has learned that the Food Network’s move will not affect the shows starring Deen’s sons, Not My Mama’s Meals with Bobby Deen on the Cooking Channel andHome for Dinner with Jamie Deen on Food Network.
On Friday, Jamie Deen Tweeted a message acknowledged the controversy without apologizing for his mom. “A heartfelt thank y’all to those who have sent love and support for mom and our family. #pray.”
Paula’s troubles began earlier this week after comments she made in a sworn deposition May 17th were filed in U.S. District Court on Monday. The deposition was part of a lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, claiming she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment filled with racial slurs and innuendo in the restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers.
When a lawyer for Jackson asked Deen whether she even used the N-word, she replied, “Yes, of course,” but then added, “It’s been a very long time.”
The controversy gained steam later this week when she canceled a planned Today show interview with Matt Lauer scheduled for Friday. However, later in the day she issued two video apologies begging for forgiveness.
“Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners – I beg for your forgiveness. Please forgive me for the mistakes that I’ve made.”