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Paula Deen apologizes, still dropped by Food Network

Paula Deen is seen in these videos posted on her YouTube page on June 21, 2013. (Paula Deen's YouTube page)
June 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Paula Deen has been dropped by the Food Network despite a teary apology in three online videos for her use of racial slurs.

Deen had catapulted to fame with her Food Network show "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2002. But the 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed Deen told an attorney questioning her under oath last month that she has used the N-word. "Yes, of course," Deen said, though she added, "It's been a very long time."

In a 46-second video posted on YouTube Friday afternoon, Deen said, "I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done."

"I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable," she said. "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."

In a second video, Deen offers her "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."

The celebrity chef and her brother are facing a discrimination lawsuit by Lisa Jackson, a former employee who managed Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah. Jackson says she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs. She is suing for $1.2 million.

During the deposition in May, Deen was peppered with questions about her racial attitudes. At one point she's asked if she thinks jokes using the N-word are "mean." Deen says jokes often target minority groups and "I can't, myself, determine what offends another person."

Deen also suggested to an assistant that she hired middle-aged black men to dress up in white jackets and bow ties for a Southern plantation wedding.

The chef has been hit with bad publicity several times in the past. In 2012, the woman known for cooking with butter announced she'd been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Critics pounced when she then landed an endorsement deal with a diabetes drug manufacturer.

Deen currently has three different shows airing on the Food Network.

"Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," the network said in a statement.

Deen issued a statement thanking the Food Network for all of its support over 11 years. The channel also features her sons on other programs. There was no word on what will happen to their shows.

Deen had planned to give her first interview since the controversy on NBC's "Today" show Friday morning, but she abruptly canceled, opting instead to release the online apology videos.

Deen said she wasn't physically able to communicate effectively in the morning because she was so devastated by everything.

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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