Controversy in the Culinary World

June 28 2013 – Robert Fiumara

This past week, the media have been circling Paula Deen as she has been facing some incriminating charges.  The Food Network star has been accused of racism and inappropriate behavior along with her brother and co-owner of her restaurants.  The employee, Lisa Jackson, claims that Deen’s brother, Earl Hiers subjected her to “violent, sexist, and racist behavior” during the five years she was employed at the restaurant.  Jackson has included Paula Deen and her company as well, claiming that the 66-year old butter loving chef was also guilty of using racial slurs that Jackson found personally offensive.


The media attention has not necessarily been focused on the trial itself, or even on Ms. Deen’s wrongdoing, but rather, on just how quickly her sponsors and business partners are fleeing the sinking domestic diva. The Food Network announced that in lieu of the recent scandal they would not be renewing their contract.  Following suit, Walmart and Sears, two of Paula Deen’s biggest backers have decided that they will not order any more of the star’s products, agreeing only to sell those orders that have already been placed.  Paula Deen’s empire is effectively crumbling around her.


In the recent deposition that has been the catalyst for the media frenzy, Paula Deen admits to having using “the N word” in her past and talking about a wedding service she desired wherein the entire service staff was comprised of black middle aged men in white coats and ties.  When this information was released, the backlash caused Deen’s financial backers to quickly disassociate themselves with the southern culinary queen.


There has been an overwhelming level of fan support and outcry that, while no one is disputing the fact that her past use of racial slurs and her current ignorance of what is offensive is disturbing and unseemly, she may be being treated harshly and perhaps the punishment does not fit the crime.  Deen made a tearful apology in a Youtube video begging her fans and business partners to forgive her and assuring them that she is not a racist and does not have, nor has she ever had any intent to cause anyone discomfort or offense.


A number of celebrities have come to Paula’s defense.  Reverend Al Sharpton defended the star saying that she should be held accountable for what she does, not the language she has used in her past, just as many are refusing to entrench themselves in the issue shying away from the explosive subject matter.  Fiumara Apparel values all of our clients and partners whatever color or creed and our commitment to excellence is extended to everyone. What do you think about the recent fall of this culinary queen?


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