While publishers and retailers cut ties with the celebrity chefs, other companies have reached out
Last week, Paula Deen had a total of 12 (by our count) partnerships either terminated or suspended thanks to a leak of the deposition transcript where Deen admitted to using the "N" word, repeating racist jokes, and wanting to hire an all-black male cast to serve as waiters during a wedding.
Of course now, after the empire has crumbled, the question is what Deen will do next, and the Dancing with the Stars rumors have emerged.
On VH1's Gossip Table, Rob Shuter reports that Deen has been approached to appear in the next Dancing with the Stars, the show that has made forgotten celebrities relevant again. Back in 2010, Deen had also been approached by the reality show but declined, saying, "Fat girls don't look good sweating." The producers were still interested at the beginning of this year, with an insider telling HollywoodLife.com, "Producers love Paula’s likability and think it would guarantee she’d be around for a couple weeks."
Of course, since then Deen has lost more than 30 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, not to mention most of her business partnerships including her network, Food Network.
And while people question the effectiveness of joining DWTS in terms of healing Deen's public persona, we imagine that this next offer won't do much to help at all; TMZ reports that a porn site PureMature.com has sent a letter to Deen's camp to offer her six figures to star in an adult film.
Do You Think Paula Deen's Latest Dancing With the Stars Costume Is Skimpy?
Paula Deen has been quite active on Facebook as of late to promote her appearance on Dancing With the Stars. The Southern cook is posting more than biscuits and mac and cheese! After having lost 40 pounds to participate in the dance show, she's taken to sharing more fashion-centric images of herself as a teen, as well as this recent selfie of herself and her DWTS partner, Louis Van Amstel. Paula, who promised that she wouldn't wear any "skimpy clothes" on the show, donned a sparkly, feather-accented red gown for her second week on DWTS.
What's more impressive than her standout selfies is that Paula knows how to properly use hashtags too. She wrote in the photo caption, "Thanks to y'all, Louis Van Amstel and I have made it through another night of Dancing With the Stars! There are so many sweet people and wonderful performers on this show, and we truly appreciate being given another chance to dance for y'all! #DWTS #TeamButtercup." Suffice to say, Paula knows how to kill it on social media.
Paula Deen Dancing With The Stars Tango Video Season 21 Week 2 – 9/22/15 #DWTS
Tonight on ABC Dancing With The Stars returns for a second week and Paula Deen and her professional dancing partner Louis Van Amstel danced a Tango. On tonight’s episode the 13 couples dance to a song that commemorates the professional dancer’s hometown. Did you watch tonight’s episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you. Did you miss any of tonight’s performance videos? If you did we have them all, right here for you!
The pressure is on this week with the couples having to learn not one but two dances in the two night event. At the end of each night, the couple with the lowest combined judges and viewer votes from last week will be eliminated.
On last night’s episode of DWTS Paula performed a Rumba and the judges scored Paula a 19/30 for her performance. Carrie Ann loved her performance and had this to say, “You really showed your true self tonight, you were a little off on your turns but then you recovered and you were like I’m gonna drama this up. I got to commend you on your leg action though, you gotta straighten up a bit, but those are some really good legs.”
Judges’ comments on Paula’s Week 2 Tango: Carrie Ann : “You are so sexy, I was blown away with your sex appeal. You made a few mistakes, you are light on your feet and it is time to get into the detail, you need to get the choreography.” Julianne : “We do have to take into consideration that there are two dances, tonight you had this attitude sass thing, you were giving it and I love it.” Bruno : “Red hot mama, I love it. Keep boiling, but don’t boil over because then you forget the steps, keep the right temperature at all times.”
JUDGES SCORES: Carrie Ann: 6 Julianne: 6 Bruno: 6 = Total 18/30 – Vote for Paula Deen & professional dancer Louis Van Amstel at voting #: 1*855*234*5611.
Watch the video below and let us know what you think, do you agree with the judges comments? Do you think Paula did enough to avoid elimination tomorrow? Sound out in the comments and let us know your thoughts?
Get to know the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ season 21 contestants
Here’s a look at the diverse list of contestants who will be breaking out their dancing shoes to vie for the top prize:
• A hero comes to the the dance floor: Alek Skarlatos, an Army National Guard Specialist, will be partnered with Lindsay Arnold. Skarlatos made headlines in August after he and two friends helped wrestle an AK-47-toting man to the floor after he allegedly opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.
• We “spy” a return: Alexa PenaVega, know for her role as Carmen Cortez in the “Spy Kids” franchise, will be partnered with Mark Ballas. The actress also appeared on Broadway in the musical “Hairspray” in 2007 and in films such as “Machete Kills” and “From Prada to Nada.”
• Honey, he’s good: Singer Andy Grammer, who was born in Los Angeles, is partnered with Allison Holker. Before Grammer scored with songs such as ""Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me,” the musician used to be a street performer on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.
• G’day Bindi: The 17-year-old daughter of the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin will be partnered with Derek Hough. The Australian actress has starred in films such as “Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove” and wildlife shows including “Bindi: The Jungle Girl.”
• Couple rivalry?: Carlos PenaVega will face off against his wife, Alexa, this season. The actor and singer, known for his role on Nickelodeon’s musical comedy “Big Time Rush,” will be partnered with Witney Carson.
• Ten-time Grammy Award winner turned dance competitor: Music icon Chaka Khan, who is a singer, songwriter, producer, author and actor, will partner up with Keo Motsepe. She has released 22 albums and racked up ten No. 1 Billboard magazine charted songs.
• The best-actor nominee: Gary Busey, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Buddy Holly in “The Buddy Holly Story,” will celebrate his 45th anniversary in the industry by competing in the ABC show. The actor, who is also known for his rolse in “Celebrity Wife Swap” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” will be partnered with Anna Trebunskaya.
• Social media star: Hayes Grier, a 15-year-old Vine and Twitter star, will be partnered with Emma Slater. Grier, a North Carolina native, has notched more than 3.5 million followers on Vine and more than 2 million followers on Twitter.
• Bravo this Housewife of Atlanta: Kim Zolciak Biermann, a socialite known for a spot on Bravo’s hit reality show “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” will be partnered with Tony Dovolani. Zolciak Biermann, a mother of seven, is married to NFL Falcons player Kroy Biermann.
• Backstreet’s back: Nick Carter, member of iconic ‘90s boy band Backstreet Boys, will be partnered with Sharna Burgess. At the height of the band’s popularity, Carter was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” He went on to release solo albums “Now or Never” and “I’m Taking Off.” He and his girlfriend Lauren Kitt starred in the VH1 reality series “I Heart Nick Carter.”
• Cooking queen comeback: Deen will be partnered with Louis van Amstel. This will be a comeback for the celebrity chef, who fell from grace after a videotaped deposition showed her admitting to using racist jokes and slurs.
• Braxton bringing family values: Tamar Braxton, a Grammy-nominated singer, reality TV personality and talk show host, will be partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy. The veteran performer is a founding member of the R&B group the Braxtons. She executive produces and stars in the WE TV reality show “Braxton Family Values,” which is in its fourth season.
• Triple Crown in town: Victor Espinoza, the first Latino jockey to ever win the Triple Crown, will be partnered with Karina Smirnoff. Espinoza has won over 3,000 races in his career, including the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
Paula Deen, 71, Looks Half Her Size After Dropping Over 40 Lbs. — Stunning Before & After Pics
Paula Deen became a famous TV cook for her love of calorie laden, highly fatty but delicious deep south recipes. Many included tons of butter, sugar, bacon grease and other ingredients that pack on the pounds. She loved to eat the food she whipped up, and as a result her weight increase caused her to develop Type 2 adult onset diabetes. The 71-year-old has shed a whopping 40 pounds since the 2012 diagnosis and looks so much healthier and fit, still keeping the pounds off seven years after being told she was diabetic.
She was most recently seen on Jan. 11 doing a baking demo at the America’s Mart Gift Show in Atlanta, Georgia. Paula was smartly dressed in a black suit that showed off her slimmer body. She taught more than 100 people how to make her “‘Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies” recipe and an eyewitness at the event told the Daily Mail that, “Paula was featured in the gift show brochure, but when it was announced over the loud-speaker she was about to begin, there was a mad dash and the space became packed! Everyone clapped and cheered when she came out, and she looked better than ever. You could tell she was really touched at the reception she received.”
Paula revealed on The Doctor Oz Show in 2015 that she didn’t initially take the diabetes diagnosis seriously. “I didn’t believe the doctor,” she said. “Nobody in my family is a diabetic, [and] we all live the same way.” By her third trip to the physician about the condition she realized she had a health problem that needed urgent attention.
“At that point, I went home to my kitchen and I threw out everything that was white,” she said. “White bread, white rice, white potatoes, and white pasta.” Once she eliminated those things from her diet, she dropped 40 pound in just four months and she’s kept it off. &ldquoI lost 35 or 40 pounds and now I&rsquove brought everything back into my kitchen, just like anybody&rsquos kitchen,&rdquo she said. &ldquoBut the thing that I&rsquom really trying to focus on is moderation. Moderation. Moderation. Eat a cookie, just don&rsquot eat six of &lsquoem! Because no one wants to go their whole life thinking they can never have anything good again.&rdquo She also revealed that she had substituted out healthy ingredients in place of fatty ones, like using yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
Paula was embroiled in a scandal in 2013 over her use of racial slurs including the “N” word. The Food Network eventually dropped her shows such as Paula Deen’s Home Cooking, Paula’s Party and Paula’s Best Dishes though her many cookbooks remained popular. She made her TV comeback in 2015 competing on Dancing with the Stars where Paula’s trim and healthy body helped her land in a respectable sixth place.
Paula Deen Real Job Offers: Porn, Dancing With the Stars?
Paula Deen, the homey Southern cook with the sparkling blue eyes who made everyone salivate with her over-the top recipes, has taken quite a tumble in the court of public opinion.
Since a legal deposition was made public in June, Deen's empire has crumbled with major sponsors like Food Network, Walmart, and Target severing ties with the queen of "butterly love."
That, of course, has led various media pundits to muse over whether Deen's career can come back from this blow -- or if her career is, in fact, dead. What they're forgetting is the fact that Deen has that "it" factor: something indefinable that resonates with her fan base, which includes more than half a million people on the We Support Paula Deen Facebook page.
With that people power, we think Deen can forge ahead, though maybe following a slightly different career path. After all, Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was in her 70's. Here are some offers rumored to be on the table. Paula, if you need an agent -- call us!
13. Chaka Khan with Keo Motsepe
Dancing with the Stars has really elevated the star power this season by pulling in 10x Grammy winner Chaka Khan. The 62-year-old “Queen of Funk” is known worldwide for her musical abilties with a career that has spanned four decades and included 22 albums and ten #1 Billboard songs with three albums having gone platinum. Although many are aware who Chaka Khan is, her appearance on DWTS will also bring her back into the spotlight before the release of her newest album, which is scheduled for later in 2015. She has been paired with 25-year-old Keo Motsepe who has never won a Mirror Ball Trophy, but you never know with Chaka Khan as your partner.
Paula Deen comes clean about her relationship and the divorce rumors
Rumors are swirling that Paula Deen’s 11-year marriage is on the rocks because of a real estate deal, and now she is speaking out.
Deen recently deeded her $1.3 million Savannah, Georgia, home to her husband Michael Groover, leading some to speculate that it was part of a financial settlement in a looming divorce case. A statement from Deen’s rep explaining that the deed of gift was merely part of Deen’s estate planning process did little to dispel the rumors.
But now Deen is speaking out &mdash and she is defending her marriage.
“My marriage has always been good,” she told Radar Online. “My husband is so supportive. He has a huge career. He is a harbor pilot. All these ships come in from all over the world and he gets on them and he parks them on the Savannah River. He has been so good about taking time off for me.
“This morning, two of our grandchildren came out to visit,” she revealed. “So he took them to San Diego to the zoo and to SeaWorld. He said, ‘Paula I am gonna do you a big favor, honey! I am gonna take those children and entertain them.’ He has always been so supportive to take his things and put them aside to be with me.”
Deen even said that Groover appreciates the changes in her body that her tough Dancing with the Stars fitness regimen is causing.
“My husband hugged me the other night and said, ‘Paula, I feel changes.’ That is good too, because I have a tire that I’d like to get rid of,” she said. “Physically it’s tough, because I hadn’t been in a structured exercise program since I was 18 years old. So it is hard, honey! It is hard.
“Let me write cookbooks. Let me do cooking shows. It’s all easy,” she said. “But that dancing is challenging and I am certainly out of my comfort zone there.”
Maybe Deen’s success in her marriage will somehow translate to success on the dance floor.
More: Paula Deen almost spoiled the biggest surprise at the Emmys
The real reason why you don’t hear about Paula Dean anymore
Not too long ago, Paula Deen was a relatively harmless figure. Sure, not everyone loved her brand of down home, Southern cooking, but she was still given the respect that comes with celeb status.
Deen was pretty much America’s culinary grandmother, with her pleasant demeanor and Southern accent charming her millions of viewers. For a time, she seemed to be living the perfect life. Then, in 2013, everything changed. Accused of racism, Deen’s star toppled and she disappeared from the public eye in disgrace. Her name became a running joke in the industry, and even her biggest fans were so horrified that they turned away from Deen. It was a tragic fall from grace, but Deen didn’t let it stop her. Though it seemed for a while that she had retired in shame, Deen instead bided her time, all while planning her return to the top. Here’s what really happened to Paula Deen.
A half-hearted apology didn’t build any bridges for Paula Deen
Paula Deen made things even worse by trying to excuse her poor behavior. She said that use of the “N word” was common in her era, and that she had simply been echoing the racism of her time. Her company also released a statement trying to put a historical spin on things, attempting to excuse Deen’s racism on the basis of her age. “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,” said her company. “This is not today.”
Deen did try to make amends, but the public was not convinced of her sincerity. In a now-deleted video apology, quoted by Eater, 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.”
Paula Deen was kicked off the air
The public was in a fury that the seemingly sweet Paula Deen had such a sketchy past, and things started to go downhill for the chef. The outcry was shared by Food Network, which declined to renew Deen’s contract after the scandal erupted. While they did not publicly explain why they were letting her go, it seems pretty likely that the network wanted to distance themselves from Deen’s tarnished image.
Food Network was far from the only major company that had beef with Deen. The disgraced chef also lost a lot of her other business connections. Ballantine Books cancelled her book deal, even though she had a cookbook set to be released that had become a number one bestseller on Amazon through pre-orders alone. Other companies, including Walgreens, J.C. Penney, QVC, Walmart, and Target, announced that they would not be re-stocking her products once existing inventory had been sold off.
More shady stuff about Paula Deen came to light
After the scandal erupted, other shady dealings from Paula Deen’s past came to light. Her former employee, Dora Charles, revealed a shocking story of how Deen had taken advantage of the African-American woman she had called her friend and “soul sister.” Charles worked with Deen for decades as she built up her company, even helping to develop recipes. Deen promised that she would make Charles rich one day, but that never happened. “It’s just time that everybody knows that Paula Deen don’t treat me the way they think she treat me,” Charles told The New York Times. She was living in a trailer park at the time.
Even after Deen hit the big time and had become a Food Network star, she continued paying Charles less than $10 an hour for years. Charles said that she also frequently heard Deen using racial slurs. “I’m not trying to portray that she is a bad person,” she said. “I’m just trying to put my story out there that she didn’t treat me fairly and I was her soul sister.”
Another racist photo made things even worse for Paula Deen
Things might have blown over sooner if it had turned out that Paula Deen’s racism really was far in her past. Instead of learning from the mistakes of her youth, however, it seemed that Deen kept quite a few bad habits well into her later years, and may have even passed them on to her kids.
In 2015, a photo from 2011 was posted on Deen’s Facebook and Twitter. In it, Deen and her son, Bobby, are dressed up as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from the classic show I Love Lucy. That might seem harmless until you notice that Bobby painted his face dark brown to portray Ricardo (who was of Latino descent). The public was outraged at the application of brown face, and allegations of racism were again made against both Deen and her son. Deen removed the photo after it proved to be controversial, and fired her social media manager — who she says posted the photo.
Paula Deen makes a killing hosting parties
Over the years, Paula Deen has obviously found ways to make money, even if she no longer has a Food Network show or lucrative partnerships with big box stores. But few of them are making us scratch our heads more than her Halloween Spectacular. In a move that we could never imagine the likes of Ina Garten doing, Deen is making fistfuls of easy money hosting Halloween parties. But here’s the kicker: The parties, with 50 random people each, are not at an event center, or even one of her restaurants. They’re at her home. According to Eventbrite, “Paula will spend the afternoon mingling with guests, sharing spooky recipes, hosting festive contests, and wrapping up the afternoon with a Halloween party…”
Need proof that Deen’s fans have more than forgiven her? The four hour event was so popular that a second date had to be added, and at $400 a pop, the tickets aren’t exactly cheap. No saying how much of it goes directly into Deen’s pocket, but $40,000 for eight hours of “work” isn’t too shabby.
Paula Deen was trying to unload her mansion
Does the listing of her Savannah, Georgia mansion say anything about Paula Deen’s financial situation? We may never know the real reason she put up her “Riverbend” property up for sale — whether out of necessity or just to pad her pockets — but we do know that as of October 2019 it hasn’t made her a dime.
The massive eight bedroom, eight-and-a-half bathroom, 28,000-square-foot French Provincial estate, complete with two guest cottages, a dock house, 300 feet of waterfront, and countless other amenities, has been on the market since May 2015 when it was listed for $12.5 million. Two years later, the home had still not sold, and the price was reduced a whopping 30 percent — to $8.75 million — but even the massive price drop hasn’t prompted a sale. Eventually, it was removed from the market, but chances are she’d still jump at decent offer. Given Deen’s current net worth — a cool $14 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com — we can probably assume that she can afford it (scandal be damned!), but the next buyer may be looking at forking over about $44,000 per month to live like Paula.
Paula Deen is breaking back into the business world
After being removed from the air, Paula Deen turned her attention to her existing restaurants — and some new ones. In 2014, a year after the scandal, Deen started a new firm, Paula Deen Ventures. Shortly after that she announced a new 20,000 square foot restaurant and store called Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.
The new restaurant helped keep her business afloat. Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen soon opened more locations and, as of this writing, operates in Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and Florida. Scandal or not, Deen was determined to prove that her cooking skills were still deserving of respect. “Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is filled with love and mouthwatering flavors,” she said in a press release. “I can hardly wait to bring some of my favorite Southern dishes… to the Great Smoky Mountains. We are going to serve our meals family style, with big ol’ bowls on the table, heaping full of fried chicken, collards, fried okra, corn and sweet potatoes.”
Paula Deen launched a clothing line with unique features
The news of Paula Deen’s scandal prompted announcements from many of her partners that their endorsement deals were over, but that didn’t stop the once beloved southern cook from finding new companies to partner with. In 2016, Deen launched a clothing line with Evine, which was something she said she’d been wanting to do for years. “It was a little hard for me to break out of the kitchen because that’s how people think of me,” she told People. “But if you notice, I never cooked naked. I was always wearing clothes!” Speaking of not being naked, Deen had some very specific requirements for her line: “I don’t know how to say this to you in a nice way, but it has to cover my front privates,” she said. “I want my shirttail to cover my front privates and hopefully my back, too. I am aware of ‘catfish belly’ arms. Have you ever seen a catfish? You know how they have a smooth floppy belly on them? Well, that’s what we refer to as ‘catfish belly’ arms.” Okay, then…
She also, inexplicably, launched a line of home storage and organization products with Jokari, because who doesn’t want official Paula Deen hangars for those shirts that cover your front privates?
A stint on Dancing With the Stars kept Paula Deen in the public eye
In 2015, Paula Deen was once more in the public eye, returning to television as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. She did not prove to be as good on the dance floor as she is in the kitchen, but her good-natured attitude on the show helped to once again endear her to the public. She took some daring risks on the show, wearing provocative outfits and even flashing her underwear in the middle of a dance. Unfortunately, Deen’s edgy moves didn’t go over well with the judges and she was eliminated in the sixth week of the show. The chef met her loss with grace and said that she was happy to head home. “I’m excited,” she said on air (via Eater). “I get to go see my grand babies.”
She added, “It has been such a wonderful journey. It took them a long time to convince me to do this. It was wonderful. It was worth it.”
Paula Deen embarrassed her family on a game show
If you thought “front privates” was the only cringe-worthy thing Paula Deen has said since her racist remarks came to light, you would be wrong — so very wrong. She doubled down on the awkward comments during her appearance on Celebrity Family Feud in 2016, when she was asked by host Steve Harvey to “name something people know about beavers.” You can probably see where this is headed…
Before giving her final answer, Deen talked it through to herself, saying, “Well, down south, we got a name for something…” which elicited a forceful “No!” from one of her sons. But then, standing right next to her family, she went for it: “Men like ’em!” *Groan* Both Harvey and son Bobby visibly grimaced, presumably along with the rest of the audience and all of America, prompting her to exclaim, “Wait, maybe I should change my answer, my sons are dying, Steve! I’ve embarrassed my sons!” Unsurprisingly, Deen’s answer was not on the board.
Paula Deen revamped her cookbooks… and got into gaming
Paula Deen also turned her attention to her cookbooks. Starting in 2015, she began releasing new and revamping old cookbooks. In 2015, she released Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, which featured healthier recipes than those included in her previous cookbooks. That same year her very first cookbook, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, was re-released. Through 2017, she continued to release or re-release two books a year.
Determined to keep her brand alive, Deen also launched a mobile game in 2015 where players got to play as the chef herself, learning recipes and moving up in the (virtual) restaurant industry as they complete match-three challenges. “I am a gamer at heart and never leave my home without my iPad,” she said in a press release. “Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest is an incredible and one-of-a-kind game that will allow y’all to cook up a storm with me while solving exciting puzzles. Plus, it’s free!”
Paula Deen got into the pet food business
Given the success that fellow celebrity chef Rachael Ray has seen with her pet food brand, it’s no wonder that Paula Deen decided to follow suit with a line of her own pet food, treats, and toys in 2015 when she partnered with Hugs Pet Products. “I want to share my love for animals with my fans and fellow pet lovers by creating special products and treats for their pets to enjoy,” Deen said. But there’s another reason this project is near and dear to her heart…
Announcing the product launch on her website, she wrote, “Y’all know how much I love all my babies, whether furry or feathered. Some of y’all might even know that if it wasn’t for my pets, I would never have met my husband Michael.” How’s that? Well, they credit Paula’s dogs for their meeting. According to Delish, they were neighbors when Deen’s dogs wondered into his back yard. Talk about a fairy tale…
The truth about Paula Deen’s marriage
Rumors have swirled for years that Paula Deen and Michael Groover were headed for divorce, thanks in large part to tabloid reports of Groover’s alleged affair with a “sexy middle-age brunette.” The fire was further fueled a few years later when Deen granted the deed to one of their homes solely to Groover. At the time, a spokesman for Deen said, “These rumors are completely false — they have a wonderful marriage. This deed of gift was just a part of Paula’s estate-planning process.”
So what does Deen have to say? She spoke to Radar Online during her stint on Dancing with the Stars, and had nothing but good things to say about Groover. “My marriage has always been good. My husband is so supportive. He has a huge career. He is a harbor pilot. All these ships come in from all over the world and he gets on them and he parks them on the Savannah River. He has been so good about taking time off for me…” she gushed. “He has always been so supportive to take his things and put them aside to be with me.”
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud
In 2018, the chef opened Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It sounds like a battle between the chef and a bunch of men wearing plaid, but is actually a popular live show providing wholesome family entertainment. The competitive event features two teams of professional lumberjack athletes who compete in a test of skills, going head-to-head in such events as rolling logs, climbing poles, and other outdoor events.
Deen isn’t the first celeb to have her name attached to Lumberjack Feud. It originally debuted in 2011, and in 2015, country singer Dolly Parton took over before passing the torch over to Deen. According to the Lumberjack Feud website, fans will soon be able to compete in lumberjack events themselves through Lumberjack Feud Adventure. The new Lumberjack Feud feature will boast an aerial playground for kids, a lumberjack-themed adventure park, a zipline roller coaster, and an 80-foot jump tower.
Paula Deen is easing her way back onto TV
Paula Deen seems to have mostly put the past behind her, and the public is slowly forgiving her. In 2014, she launched the subscriber-based digital network The Paula Deen Network which featured network-exclusive videos of Deen and her guests cooking in front of an audience. In 2016, she began filming her newest television show, Positively Paula. The show, which is filmed at the chef’s home in Savannah, Georgia, was originally broadcast in 40 areas around the country. “I am so excited to invite my friends from around the country into my home kitchen each week,” Deen said at the time of the show’s launch (via Delish). “We are going to have an incredible time cooking up a storm and sharing the most special memories.”
It wasn’t too long before the show gained a following and reached a broader audience. Early in 2018, the show entered syndication and began airing on RFD-TV, marking Deen’s return to cable programming — and maybe the start of her journey back into our hearts.
To cast Paula Deen on Dancing With the Stars is to condone her racism
I t took 54 years for South Carolina to realize that flying the Confederate flag over its state house was antagonistically tone-deaf at best and, at worst, aggressively spiteful of the history of slavery and systemic racism in the state. Officials didn’t take it down until after a mass shooting – a young white man opened fire at a black church in Charleston steeped in Civil Rights history – made it clear that flying the Confederate flag, proudly, was a form of complicit encouragement for this hate crime.
It was just two years ago that Paula Deen, the self-proclaimed queen of fat, salt, cream and all the other boastfully gluttonous elements of Southern cooking, was sued for racial and sexual discrimination. In Dean’s own deposition, she freely admitted to repeatedly using the N-word at and around members of the staff of her restaurant, many of whom were African American.
She also described there why it was OK to use the slur in telling jokes – and why slurs are fine in any joke about any targeted group – and her desire to have a “really Southern plantation-style wedding,” complete with a waitstaff comprised exclusively of middle-aged African-American men. (“I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism,” she noted when questioned about these remarks.).
And so perhaps in another 52 years the network executives at ABC will also admit to a gross miscalculation of judgment by inviting a blatantly, unavoidably racist woman onto their ratings-topping program Dancing With The Stars.
Yes, Paula Deen herself – just two short years after a stilted, awkward video apology, quick weight loss and new career shilling diabetes drugs, and less than two months since she appeared in an image with her son, dressed as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, with the latter in brown-face – has been cast on the latest season of the ballroom dance extravaganza welcomed into countless American homes for hours and hours (and hours) each week.
Casting Paula Deen on Dancing With The Stars excuses away Deen’s behavior and actions as the kind of entertainment the show itself purports to be: sequins, music, dancing and ethnic slurs, hurrah! It’s all one and the same, equally weightless froth, when someone who espouses one is allowed to proudly sashay around on TV enjoying the benefits of the other.
When we let someone like Paula Deen – when we let Paula Deen herself – become a casual, laughing part of the parade of popular culture, we not only excuse Deen’s casual racism, but condone it – the words she has used, the people she has objectified, the horror of slavery she has flippantly attempted to glamorize and commodify for her own consumption and profit.
So now, an unsolicited note of advice to television producers everywhere: let’s not use mass-consumed popular culture to celebrate racism, or any other form of discrimination.
I am not African-American, African or black. I am not a person of color. So I say this from the markedly privileged place of being a white woman in America: let’s not, ever, use popular culture to lift up and make entertainment out of racist people and racist behavior.
Deen being cast on Dancing With The Stars is a bold statement from those who drive American television that black lives do not, in fact, matter. And, even worse, that intolerance, as long as it comes with a sunny accent and a white face, always will.