Paula Deen

Paula Deen

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Updated Mar 14, 2015 at 06:26PM EDT by Alex Mercer.

Added Apr 09, 2012 at 01:27AM EDT by Nathan093.

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Paula Deen is an American celebrity chef best known as the host of numerous cooking shows on Food Network. Online, she is often criticized and parodied for her high-calorie recipes that often contain copious amounts of butter and sugar.

Online History

Paula Deen launched her personal website[18] in 2006[19] to advertise her Savannah, Georgia restaurant The Lady & Sons. In 2009, she launched an interactive web series titled Get Cookin’ with Paula Deen (shown below) on her YouTube channel,[20] which ran through the end of that year. In January 2010, Deen established a Facebook page[21], which has more than 53,000 likes as of June 2013. Deen also maintains an active Twitter account[22] with more than a million followers.

Food Network English Peas Recipe

In November 2010, several recipe articles hosted on Food Network’s official website became the target of tongue-in-cheek parody reviews for their overly simplistic cooking instructions. Among them were Paula Deen’s recipe for english peas, which directed the readers to melt butter in small pot and cook the peas until they’re warm.

Paula Deen Riding Things

Paula Deen RIding Things is a photoshop meme which spawned from a photograph of Deen playfully riding chef Robert Irvine at the February 2011 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The day after the event, the single topic blog Paula Deen Riding Things[1] launched, posting 13 photoshopped images of Deen riding things including sticks of butter, whales and roller coasters. After late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon tweeted a link to the blog, it began to draw attention from a number of internet culture blogs and news media, leading to Deen browsing the images on a Today show appearance in March. That December, TIME named Paula Deen Riding Things one of the Top Ten Memes of 2011.


Immediately following the news media coverage[6][7] of Paula Deen’s racial slur scandal in June 2013, Twitter users co-opted the promotional hashtag from Deen’s Food Network show Paula’s Best Dishes[8] by incorporating racist jokes into names of foods and traditional dishes. That day, numerous blogs shared compilations of tweets from the trending hashtag, including Eater[11], Salon[12], The Root[13], New Media Rockstars[14], Fox News[15] and Heavy.[16] According to Topsy[9], the hashtag #PaulasBestDishes[10] was used more than 13,000 times on June 19th.


Obsession with Butter

Since the premiere of Paula’s Home Cooking on Food Network in November 2002, Deen’s cooking style has become closely associated with excessive use of butter as a cooking ingredient. In October 2011, numerous food blogs reported that the celebrity chef has launched her own line of butter-flavored lip balm. Deen’s obsession with butter has been lampooned on multiple occasions in popular culture and on the Internet, particularly on Tumblr after the viral takeoff of the single topic blog “Paula Deen Riding Things.” In October 2012, comedian actress Kristin Wiig made a guest appearance as Paula Deen in the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, during which she proceeded to eat a stick of butter. (shown below) In June 2013, Deen launched her own line of flavored “finishing butter”products.

Racial Slur Allegations

In March 2013, Deen was sued[2] (shown below) by a former employee named Lisa Jackson who claims to have been sexually and racially harassed by the celebrity chef while working for her. According to the complaint, Deen had allegedly used the n-word to describe black employees who were hired as waiters for her brother Bubba’s wedding.[3] On June 19th, 2013, the National Enquirer[4] claimed that they had obtained video footage of Deen’s legal deposition from May 17th, during which she supposedly admitted to using the n-word on several occasions while planning her brother’s wedding. Radar Online[5] also noted that Deen tried to excuse her racial jokes by comparing them to jokes about Jewish people or “rednecks.”

On June 19th, Deen’s lawyer issued a statement to USA Today[17] saying that his client “does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable.” On June 21st, Deen failed to show up for a scheduled guest appearance on NBC’s Today Show. Instead, she uploaded two apologies (shown below) to her YouTube channel, in which she begged forgiveness for her use of racial slurs, but both of the original videos have since been removed.

That same day, Food Network announced[24] that the company would not be renewing Deen’s contract upon its expiration in June. On June 24th, Virginia-based international pork producing company Smithfields issued a similar statement condemning her use of discriminatory language and announcing the termination of its partnership with the chef, who has been promoting the brand since September 2006.

Personal Life

Paula Deen was born on January 29th, 1947 in Georgia. After the death of her parents and a divorce in her 20s, she developed anxiety and agoraphobia and began cooking as a way to support her family without leaving the house.[23] After a second divorce and two children, she started a catering service called The Bag Lady to support herself. The success led her to open her first restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in January 1996. The next year, she self-published two cookbooks containing traditional Southern recipes. In 1999, she began appearing as a guest star on several Food Network series before securing her own show, Paula’s Home Cooking, in November 2002. Since then, she has had two other shows, written two additional cookbooks and published a memoir. In 2012, Deen announced she had been suffering from Type 2 diabetes for three years, leading many critics to call her a hypocrite for still touting high-calorie recipes.

Search Interest

External References

[1]Tumblr – Paula Deen Riding Things

[2]Scribd – Jackson v. Deen Et Al. Complaint

[3]Gawker – Lawsuit Claims Paula Deen Used N-Word, Said She Wanted Black People to ‘Tap Dance Around Like In the Shirley Temple Days’


[5]Radar Online – Paula Deen Admits Using The N-Word & Making Racial Jokes In Explosive Deposition

[6]Gawker – Paula Deen Says ‘Of Course’ She Uses the N-Word

[7]Buzzfeed – Paula Deen Allegedly Admits To Using N-Word, Wanting Black People To Dress As Slaves

[8]Food Network – Paula’s Best Dishes

[9]Topsy – Statistics for #paulasbestdishes

[10]Twitter – Tweet results for #PaulasBestDishes

[11]Eater – The Best #PaulasBestDishes Tweets Mocking Paula Deen

[12]Salon – Paula Deen’s racism goes viral with #PaulasBestDishes

[13]The Root – ’Paula’s Best Dishes’: Delicious Satire


[15]Fox News – #PaulasBestDishes goes viral after reports of Deen’s racial slurs

[16]Heavy – #PaulasBestDishes Trends As Paula Deen Accused of Racism: Top Tweets

[17]USA Today – Paula Deen: I ‘do not condone’ use of n-word

[18] – Home

[19] – Archive from 2006

[20]YouTube – The Official Paula Deen YouTube Channel

[21]Facebook – Paula Deen

[22]Twitter – @Paula_Deen

[23]New York Times – From Phobia to Fame: A Southern Cook’s Memoir

[24]New York Times – Food Network Drops Paula Deen

[25]USA Today – Smithfield Foods severs ties with Paula Deen

[26]Jezebel – Kristen Wiig’s Paula Deen Impression Is So Delicious, It Might Have Been Fried in Butter and Oil

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