Paula Deen has released several YouTube videos, in which she says she is "so sorry" for her past use of a racial slur after admitting in a court deposition to using such "inappropriate, hurtful" language, and adds that she is begging for forgiveness.
Meanwhile, the Food Network said in a statement that it will not renew the 66-year-old celebrity chef's contract when it expires at the end of the month (Check out more details).
TheFood Network star and Georgia native, known as the "queen of Southern cooking," and her brother were last year sued for $1.2 million for alleged racial and sexual discrimination by a former employee of their restaurant. All parties are white. The worker says Deen used a racial slur offensive to black people in front of her. Deen had denied any wrongdoing but later admitted in a court deposition, whose transcript was recently released, that she had used the term in the past.
Deen's video apologies followed a written statement, in which she said she did not find using the racial epithet acceptable and did not condone racism or discrimination, adding that she was "born 60 years ago, when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today."
Deen was supposed to appear on NBC's "Today" show on Friday to talk to co-host Matt Lauer about the controversy but was a no-show. Her spokespeople told the network she canceled due to exhaustion.
Three videos were posted on Deen's YouTube page on Friday, June 21. One was removed (watch it below, as seen on ABC News). Deen is dressed in a pink sweater and fidgets with her hands as she speaks. Here are her full statements:
Paula Deen apology video No. 1 (to the public) (removed):
- "I wanna apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done. I want to learn and grow from this. 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."
- "I'm Paula Deen and I'm here to issue an apology to Matt Lauer. I was invited to do an interview with him this morning, and Matt, I am so sorry -- I was physically in no shape to come in and talk with you. The last 48 hours have been very, very hard and you know, I'm a strong woman ... but today I wasn't, this morning, I was not. So I do apologize."
- "Hello ya'll. "I'm Paula Deen. I was invited earlier this morning to speak with Matt Lauer about a subject that has been very hurtful to a lot of people and Matt, I have to say, I was physically not able this morning. The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others and so I'm taking this opportunity, now that I've pulled myself together, and am able to speak to offer an apology to those who I have hurt."
"I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. I've spent the best of 24 years to help myself and others. Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me but it's what's in the heart ... what's in the heart and my family and I try to live by that."
"And I am here to say I am so sorry. I was wrong. Yes, I've worked hard and I've 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 and I will continue to work and continue to do good things for good people. Thank you for listening."
This video also contained a caption that featured a separate, typed statement from Deen. She said the following:
"After spending all day soul searching and trying to figure out how to deal with what I did, I recorded a video trying to do the right thing. In the end, Ifelt that I needed to just be myself, say I am sorry and beg for forgiveness."
"What said was wrong and hurtful. I know that and will do everything that I can do make it right. I am not about hate, and I will devote myself to showing my family, friends and fans how to live a life helping others, lifting us all up, and spreading love."
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