Paula Deen has her supporters. Organizers of the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show which debuted in Dallas in 2012 with Deen and Bobby Flay as Celebrity Chefs, announced June 27 that “this is a nation of forgiveness and second chances. In that spirit we intend to go forward with the Metro Cooking Shows in Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. with Paula as a presenter. At this time we have no plans to do otherwise.” The show is scheduled to be in Dallas Sept. 21 and 22.
Even fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter came to her defense: Watch the Video.
The darling of Southern Cooking whose outspoken and irreverent TV chatter has been the subject of controversy in the past, is catching a lot of criticism these days for a remark she says happened 30 years ago, and for which she has repeatedly apologized over the course of the past week. The Food Network announced last week it would not renew her contract; major retailers including Sears, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, JC Penney and Target have either suspended or canceled contracts, and pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk which makes a diabetes medication has severed ties with her. Caesars Entertainment and QVC have also dropped her from their lineup.
But she has her supporters as well. Reportedly, sales of her latest cookbook are up 1,000 percent since the controversy surfaced. In fact, it was number one on Amazon’s Best-Seller list. The problem today, according to a Friday New York Times report, is that the publisher, Random House, has decided it cannot publish the cookbook, which is not scheduled for release until October. It was to be the first of a five-book contract which the publisher signed with Deen last year. Now what? The future is unclear.
A new “We support Paula Deen” facebook page had garnered more than half a million “likes” on Friday, organized by her supporters to urge her to “weather the storm.” Some angry Deen fans have called for boycotts of the retailers, and her two sons were shown on video with Deen this week to voice their support for their mom. The sons also have a cooking show on HGTV which has not been affected by the current storm of protest over Deen’s alleged racial slurs. Also on Friday, it was announced that Deen’s magazine was safe, with business partners standing behind her.
Dean shared the spotlight last year in Dallas with Grillmaster Bobby Flay to cook Southern fare with husband Michael Groover, parade her new puppy, and entertain the crowds on the Celebrity Stage at the Dallas Convention Center. The cooking show attracted a crowd of approximately 10,000.
Last year, Paula Deen was the center of controversy when she announced that she had been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, and would serve as a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company. She was criticized for continuing to cook high calorie, sweet, rich food despite her medical condition. However, she lost moe than 30 pounds, exercised, and has altered many recipes since then. Her new, and newly-canceled cookbook, was to have featured healthier and lighter adaptations of her traditional recipes.
She and her sons continue to own and operate “The Lady and Sons,” a popular restaurant featuring down-home cooking, in Savannah, Ga.