On the one hand, my human empathy forces me to recognize that I am sure this past week has been genuinely painful and difficult for Paula Deen, but on the other hand the human hunger for invasive and judgmental voyeurism forces me to gobble up every new development. NOM NOM NOM, right, Paula Deen? Get it, Paula Deen? NOM NOM NOM! This Today show interview with Matt Lauer is DELICIOUS!

Here’s the thing that I don’t get about the whole Paula Deen thing: why do her people let her keep talking? I know someone has to do some talking in all of this, but clearly it shouldn’t be her. Every time she opens her mouth it just gets worse! Like, this interview, holy moly. First of all: enough with the waterworks, Paula Deen. Your window for genuine remorse closed last week when you thought it was fine to just post a 45 second non-apology, heavily edited as if you could not get a single sentence out without using a racial epithet. Now it is time, and it has always been time, but now it is time for you to just be actually honest, but because you cannot do that, then maybe it is time for you to put a stick of butter in your mouth and hush it. (OK, that butter joke was lazy, but you know what it wasn’t? SUPER RACIST!) I seriously think that all Paula Deen had to do from the very beginning was say, “Hey guys, I said and did some fucked up stuff. There is no real apology for it, other than to say I acknowledge that I have a lot of work to do and while I don’t expect you to forgive me, I simply ask for you to be patient as I learn from my mistakes.” Something like that. It didn’t have to be that EXACT phrasing, but just own the whole thing. You’re bold enough to try and throw your brother a “slave themed” wedding in 2000-whatever, you might as well screw up that same courage to BE A FUCKING HUMAN BEING ABOUT IT. Instead, as you will see in this interview, she claims that she only used the n-word because someone LITERALLY held a gun to her head, and that the only people she is racist against are “thieves and liars.” Haaaaaaaaaa. Oh brother.

Perhaps the boldest move, and don’t get me wrong, the alligator tears, the gun to her head defense, and the claim that she is only racist towards thieves were all very bold moves, but easily the boldest move is saying that she doesn’t know whether or not black people find the “n-word” offensive because of the things she hears young men calling each other, and then goes into a condescending, patrician lecture about how these young men should live their lives. AHHHHHHHH PAULA! MAYBE DON’T ACT LIKE YOU KNOW BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE JUST IN THIS ONE MOMENT. YOU ARE KIND OF ON THIN ICE AS IT IS, IT SEEMS LIKE, AND PERHAPS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUE IS NOT THE MOST MORALLY CONCISE! EVEN MORE TO THE POINT, WHEN YOUR LIFE IS CRUMBLING AROUND YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEMATIC VIEWS ON RACE, YOU MIGHT WANT TO RECONSIDER BLAMING BLACK PEOPLE FOR RACISM. ALSO: YIKES!

The second boldest move is when she says that she, as a business woman who understands the power of branding, would not have fired herself. Very brave. So strong. What a rock in the face of adversity that all of the Paula Deens can look to for inspiration when times get tough for Paula Deens. WILL THIS WOMAN NEVER REST HER CASE? At the very least, let the court break for lunch. Right, Paula? Lunch? NOM NOM NOM RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Comments (81)
  1. Come on, Gabe. I’m sure she’s very sorry. Sorry that people find are offended, sorry that this is happening to her…

    She’s just not sorry for being a racist is all.

    • This will not be very popular here but I’m not sure she’s a racist. If someone asked me if I’ve ever said a derogatory word about a race or sexual orientation I’d be guilty. I’ve said some pretty stupid things in my life. I do not consider myself a racist or a self-hating homo. I also wouldn’t believe anyone who told me they’ve never said something racist or stupid or derogatory.

      I have more of an issue that we have to see more of her stupid face because of all this. I am not sure all this media attention is accomplishing anything. I think people should be more upset about the SCOTUS decision yesterday.

      • Here’s the problem. Under oath, when asked if she used racist slurs, her answer was “Yes, of course.” Not “once during a robbery” or “a couple of times when I was younger in a boneheaded ploy to get some older kids to like me.” So now, NOW, when the eye of the public is on her, suddenly the story changes.

      • Yeah, but it’s not just about the word–there were a lot of other allegations of really gross behavior from her and her brother. I’ve actually been wondering if she’s focusing on the word specifically so everyone will forget everything else her employees have accused her of.

        • I didn’t know this stuff. I should study this before I type more but honestly I don’t care enough to. I just though they asked her if she ever used the word and she said yes. If there are other allegations, etc. than I take back what I said except about having to see her more in the media than I need to.

          • If you read the deposition, her argument that she said the n-word unravels into saying the n-word as well as other words of varying forms of bigotry to her friends and family.

          • I mean, let’s be real, the slave themed wedding is the most offensive thing here, right? That’s… a thing. That she did. (My head explodes every time I think about it. Same thing that happened when I watched that new Miley Cyrus video.)

      • When I was in undergraduate I had a Sociology professor who was also very active in the black community and did a lot of writing on race relations. At the very beginning of one of his classes, which focused on poverty and education and in which we were required to field study by tutoring a young, poor, minority student, he told us we were all racists. Now, this may seem shocking, and yes some of our doe eyed white liberal students were gob smacked at the accusation, but his reasoning was golden:

        If you were raised in this country, or any first world country (or almost anywhere at any time really), then you can’t help being a racist. “I’M a racist too” he said. You aren’t born that way, but its impossible not to be affected by the culture that surrounds you, even if you reject it. So somewhere deep in there you have some basic assumptions you probably don’t check very often, that are in fact, racist (for instance, thinking that Columbus is the super awesome discoverer of America, or that Thanksgiving is a non-historially inaccurate, positive holiday). And that’s okay, you just work on you, do your best to be accepting and open and aware. You can be the master of your own behavior Paula Deen. Maybe just start by not using the n-word or hosting slave weddings? That’d be a good start.

        • Not to mention thinking that there was ever anyone named Columbus in the first place (PRO TIP: The name “Christopher Columbus” is not particularly Italian.)

          But still, I’d say your Professor was mistaken. There’s a difference between ignorance and racism. Calling people racist for simply not knowing any better is confusing and it muddles the issue.

          • The examples I chose to use were instances where not knowing history can be the issue, but I don’t think that was his point, just my choice of references. The examples he gave were much more black on black, white on black etc focused, much more day to day interaction and thought as in- ladies, if you saw a group of young white men standing around late at night, would you feel unsafe, would you cross the street? What if it were a group of young black men?

            I think if you are raised in this country, and not some kind of superhuman, you probably have some racist issues to work out whether they’re against others or self hate related.

          • I’d actually argue that it’s the other way around — what confuses the issue is the idea that racism is principally something that’s borne out of malice, or cruelty, or hate. What we need to do to clarify the issue is actually to point out that “racism” is really the participation in a system that privileges one race over the other.

            What a lot of people — I’m sure Paula Deen even — have a hard time understanding is that you don’t have to hate black people to be racist, you don’t evne really have to think that you’re better than black people to be racist. You just have to do this same kind of dumb shit that she’s doing; THAT’s what muddies the issue.

      • helmsey, this really resonated with me. Deen is not a person I like or respect. But I’ve come away thinking that folks are suspending critical thinking and reacting on this one.

        Meanwhile, like you said, SCOTUS has just decimated the Voting Rights Act and the story dies in a day.

        Apparently, we’re can’t see the forest for the sleaze.

  2. There is one shot, it’s very quick, of Matt Lauer about halfway through this video. If you look over his right shoulder, you can see Giada De Laurentiis just off stage smoking a cigarette and flipping Paula Deen the bird while mouthing the words “You’re Fucked.”

  3. “Consider the STIRcumstances!” -Matt Lauer

  4. “How are you feeling today?” Nope, right away don’t care how you’re feeling, Paula Deen. Let’s rephrase: “How are you coping with everyone finding out you’re a racist?”

    “In a state of shock.” Are you, Paula? Are you shocked?

    “There’s been some very hurtful things said about me.” Oh Jesus Fuck. How is it that the outed bigots first line of defense in this country is playing the fucking victim card? I’m not watching the rest of this.

  5. TR, DW. (Too racist, didn’t watch)

  6. It was very weird how she repeatedly asked sinless people to throw rocks at her head until she died. I know that is a saying, and I get her point, but it was just very specific and graphic.

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but if a black guy has a gun to my head in a robbery, that’s probably THE WORST TIME to break our the N-word for the theoretical first time. Maybe pick a safer time to dip your toe into the pool of racist slurs.

    • She didn’t. She said in the deposition that she said the N-word in reference to the guy to her husband after she got home from the robbery. Soooo does that make it more or less racist?

  8. I especially hate all the comments I’ve been seeing about how it’s not her fault because she’s “from a different generation/time.” Uh, girlfriend is 66, not 95 (and even that’s not an excuse, obviously). My parents are 67, and somehow manage, along with all their friends, not to be gross racist stupidheads.

    But yeah, in cases like this, I always wonder if the person’s PR team purposefully gives bad advice, or none, because they secretly hate them and kick back with a glass of wine to watch these interviews and cackle evilly later.

    • How long can racist people keep playing the “another time” defense? The Civil Rights Act was passed around the time she would have been graduating high school. That is a long time to learn and grow and read light selections from the Oprah book club, Paula. There was “another time” shorter than that ago when I still peed in my diaper, but we grow and we change and my tiny toddler brain learning to not piss myself seems harder than, “Don’t say the N Word anymore.”

  9. Matt Lauer is having NONE of it, which is pretty awesome.

    Also, just for the record, for ANYONE out there who still doesn’t know, the n-word is offensive to everyone. Don’t ever use it. Ever.

    • I cannot recall a time where I have ever used the N-word. My roommate in college was dating this guy for a while (he was white and from a tiny farm town in New Mexico) who used to say it all. the. time. And finally I snapped at him and we had this huge fight about it. It was never a word I heard growing up, ever (thanks parents and all New Mexico in general) and it’s never been a word I thought was acceptable.

      All this to say… what about when I’m singing along to a rap/hip hop song? (Serious inquiry!)

      • I would say, still don’t say it. Pretend you’re the Wal-Mart version of the CD.

      • I had a professor who was a Race & Ethnic Studies professor, and we would do these karaoke nights from time to time. Being a non-black dude with a heavy southern accent, he thought better of using the N-word when performing rap songs. Instead he replaced the N-word with “Cowboy,” e.g., “All my cowboys…”

      • I am of the school that wants to avoid the whole “n-word” awkwardness. If you are calling someone it, you are garbage. If you are telling someone about someone else using it, if you are discussing a book where it is used, I say it’s okay. It’s like any other offensive word at that point.

      • This really ruins the fact that I have the Nicki Minaj verse on Monster memorized.


        But, hmmm, yeah, I think that’s kind of a grey area? Very well could be wrong.

  10. I thought the op-ed Lauer mentioned actually took a pretty reasonable approach:

    “People of Deen’s generation can neither change the past nor completely escape their roots in it, any more than the rest of us. They can apologize and mean it, as Deen seems to. They also deserve credit for owning up to past sins, as Deen did candidly when she could easily have, shall we say, whitewashed the matter.”

    Not that I don’t get why people are angry. It’s just… we’re all persons-in-progress, and no one’s heart is perfect, and this stuff makes us all tired.

    • Honestly, she didn’t do either of these things in the interview. It was all fingerpointing and excuses and retractions of things she said under oath.

      Sorry, but damage control and crisis communication is what I actual do IRL ( if you can believe it) and what Gabe put forth in the post is the correct strategy. You fuck up, the statement you make is “I’m sorry. It’s not an excuse. I screwed up.”

      What you don’t do is hem and haw for days and then go on national tv and not own up, wriggling uncomfortably on the hook for 15 minutes.

      • You’re absolutely right in that she could’ve peppered her apologies with fewer caveats.

        But she seems sorry to me.

        She seems like she is sorry for hurting anyone. To those of us who weren’t hurt but only outraged, she seems to want to try to explain herself. It’s a natural enough thing to want to do.

        If what we’re all upset about is that she doesn’t yet understand racial issues the way a lot of us probably do… well, you’re right. She probably doesn’t, and maybe she never will. I mean, it’s clear from her emphasis on equality and colorblindness (vs. multicultural sensitivity) and from her response to the language from the kids in her kitchen that she may not yet be super sophisticated about race in America.

        But that’s not the same as not being sorry.

        I mean, I get it. She is not very likable. She’s a walking cartoon representation of a certain cultural tradition with some ugly veins.

        But she’s still a person, right? She still doesn’t deserve us taking pleasure in her pain. …Right?

  11. Has everyone read the Complaint that started this all? I am not saying that Deen is a garbage monster who should be banished to skull island, but I am strongly implying it.

  12. “Do you ever wish you’d fudged the truth?”

    “Well, that was a freebie!”

  13. Here’s a fun thing about Paula Deen and her ideas about being a liar. Remember when she didn’t tell anyone that she had diabetes for awhile (more than a year maybe?) that she got from eating the garbage food that she has built her entire empire upon? Okay, she doesn’t need to disclose health information to the general public, maybe, that’s fine, whatever, except for the fact that her disease is a direct result of the brand she is selling. Also, she only came forward with her diabetes when she had a fucking endorsement deal for diabetes medicine!!! You’re right, Paula, liars are pretty fucking evil.

  14. By the end of the video, her voice had morphed into a bad Bill Clinton impression.

  15. To be fair, I don’t think she should have lost her job for this. She’s established that she’s America’s grandma, and who among us doesn’t have casually racist grandparents?

  16. I didn’t read all the comments (tl;dr;luvu) but I watched this entire thing with a coworker this morning and it left us feeling a bit sad and icky. Yes racism is horrible (duhhhh) but watching someone get ripped apart for something that they said decades ago is just contributing to the awful “gotcha!” nature of our modern media and culture. The sheer enjoyment everyone seems to be getting out of this makes me wonder whatever happened to basic human empathy, much less forgiveness or propriety. Do we really give a crap about dumb Paula Deen and her dumb comments? Is she really so important of a figure that her behavior is contributing/not contributing to race relations in ‘merica? Haven’t we all said stuff that we regretted later, while under the influence or otherwise? It feels like a witch hunt to me, and this lady looks like she’s aged 10 years in a week. I can’t help but feel sorry for her, honestly, even if she is a redneck racist. Let’s celebrate the important things going on in the country today (gay rights FTW!) instead of this nonsense.

      • It’s really called the Law Blog???

      • Yeah, like I said above, I think her focusing solely on the n-word incident is a deliberate attempt to make everyone forget about all the other, more serious allegations, and unfortunately, it seems to be working.

      • I only made it about half way through. Can we please put Bubba on a boat to the bottom of the ocean??

        • Holy crap, yes. I wish Food Network would hire him, then just fire him so we can all have the satisfaction of seeing him publicly fired. Then they should lock him in a room, away from all other people, because it’s clear that no fellow human should ever have to interact with that man ever again. That should be society’s gift to itself for getting rid of DOMA and Prop 8.

        • I have never seen a photo of Bubba, and I don’t wish to, because there’s no way the reality can live up to the mental image I have created.

      • Wow, that is terrible. And it is amazing how people have lasered in on the n-word thing when the rest of this stuff is (seemingly) a LOT worse.

      • What gets me is that this lawsuit had to be in the works for a little while. That posting is dated March of ’12? So, how did she not see PR trouble coming from 10 miles away? Like, uh oh, this is going to be public information and people are going to find out about it and they are going to be mad (regardless of whether I’m sorry about it or not.) Let’s hire Frank Lloyd Wrong and figure out what we should do.

        To me, THAT’S why she deserves to get fired from her TV and marketing empire. It’s incompetence.

    • Your points are well-reasoned, but to be fair to the rest of us, Paula Deen is simply fulfilling TO A TEE her final functions in the joke-celebrity life cycle that she willingly entered years ago. To wit: she has exposed herself as the desperate asshole everyone suspected she was all along.

      • Fair enough. This sounds like a disclaimer, but honestly, I’m not a Paula Deen fan and most of what I know about her I learned from funny Onion headlines. But I just read that she got dumped by Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart is dropping you, things CAN’T be good.

  17. I think we need to remember that her punishment is the loss of a very desirable job that puts her in front of a national audience and brings her fame and fortune (and public shaming, sure). Uhhh of COURSE she should lose that job! Do you know how many people who are not terrible slur dispensers want that kind of job and don’t get it? Paula Deen doesn’t even have to leave that job to find a normal, grindy one. I do not feel sorry for her at all.

  18. Paula Done.

  19. I’m so TIRED (yes, I’m yelling ;) of the media saying she was fired for using the N word. As an African Amercian female her using that word, however long ago it was, isn’t a big deal to me.

    My issue is that, that deposition made her overall CHARACTER look extremely faulty and sketchy. I would have loved to have heard an explanation as to WHY she thought it would be okay for black men and women to be involved in a “plantation style wedding”. Why do we keep focusing on the word, instead of all the other deplorable things she is actually being called into question for by a former employee.

    If I see one more idiotic comment on yahoo or fb about “sooo..I guess no one has ever said a word they wish they could take back” UUUUGH The N word is the red flag. The rest of her supposedly behavior is probably why Food Network said “Buh Bye”


    • She even admitted that she makes jokes/comments about gays, Jews, and other minorities and that if a joke had a racist word including the n-word in it, she would repeat it as is.
      So it just wasn’t that one time after the robbery. She just can’t remember how many times she said it between then and now.

  20. The best part oh her n-word story is that she said the N-word TO HER HUSBAND WHEN SHE GOT HOME AFTER THE ROBBERY.

    Paula Deen, just go away.

  21. “Stop fucking crying.” —Tony Soprano RIP

  22. “Just set her on fire, and shush her charred corpse”- Gabe, 2013

  23. i don’t think it’s right to excuse people by saying they are “from a different time.” my mom who is 55 used to use that to excuse her mother who is now 90. if people who are thirty years apart can use the same excuse then it falls apart. paula deen is a mother and a grandmother and she’s passing down her intolerance to her children and their children. at my horrible job i’m always going on about freelance people come in sometimes when we don’t have enough staff. one of these guys came in and was telling me about a time when he had a black boss. he said he told his boss “i’m white and you’re black. you can’t tell me what to do.” he also said that he shouldn’t have to do that kind of work because he’s white and not “a slave from the forest.” this coworker was 19 years old. I’m willing to bet he learned his prejudice from a parent or grandparent. i got him fired from our venue for that and i don’t feel bad about it.

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