In the wake of a controversy sparked by her admission to using the N-word, Paula Deen has been dropped from Food Network, a rep for the cooking channel announced on Friday. "Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," a Food Network spokeswoman said in a statement to Us Weekly.
As the cornerstone of her empire and home of her popular show Paula's Home Cooking, severing ties with the network is a big blow to Deen's brand. Insiders are speculating that her relationship with shopping network QVC is also in jeopardy.
Hours after getting the ax from Food Network, Deen issued a statement thanking the channel. "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," she said. "This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of ya'll."
She also released a pair of apology videos on social media addressing her fans.
"I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press say that we are. I've spent the best of 24 years to help myself and others. Your color of skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me," she said.
The Emmy-winning star continued, "I am here to say that I am so sorry. I was wrong, yes. I've worked hard and I've made some mistakes. But that is no excuse."
However, the traffic at Deen's various Savannah, Georgia restaurants is stronger than ever, with fans turning up to support the 66-year-old celebrity chef. No word on whether the cooking shows hosted by Deen's sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, will also be dropped by Food Network.
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(Photo: Paula Deen via Youtube)