Paula Deen is in major damage control mode. The empress of Southern cooking sparked a huge backlash after a transcript of a deposition in which she admitted to using the N-word hit the Internet on Wednesday.
The 66-year-old celebrity chef released a statement today, via her company, Paula Deen Enterprises, explaining that her offensive remarks have been taken out of context. "During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today," the statement begins.
"[Paula] 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."
It continues, "To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination. "
The statement doesn't mention that the time Deen used the racial slur was not in the 1960s, but in 1986.
Still, some in the Black community are coming out in support of Deen. Chef Joe Randall, who runs the Savannah Cooking School where Deen once studied, said that while he's disappointed by her remarks he still respects her. And today, CNN host Roland Martin has stepped up to defend his fellow TV presenter. "So let me get this straight," he tweeted on Thursday. "Paula Deen is mocked by Black Twitter for using the N-word, but when Black Twitter uses it, it's all good?"
Martin, predictably, invited a tidal wave of backlash for his comments.
One entity not jumping to Deen's defense is her employer, The Food Network. While insiders believe Deen doesn't need to fear getting ousted from the family-friendly network, the channel did issue a statement saying they don't tolerate any form of discrimination and will "continue to monitor the situation closely."
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