Monday, June 24, 2013

We're all a little racist, y'all. Does that mean we should be fired?

So as many of you know, this past Friday, the Food Network announced it would not be renewing the contract of its popular Southern chef Paula Deen. The Food Network did not provide a reason, but most people assumed it was due to the revelations that Deen had repeatedly used racial slurs, including the "N word," and told racist jokes in front of and to employees at her restaurants.

Personally, I thought the Food Network should have fired Deen years ago -- for crimes against arteries and the pancreas, or, more specifically, for concealing the fact that she had Type 2 diabetes for four years, due to her incredibly unhealthy lifestyle, which she encouraged millions to emulate, and only revealing the fact that she had Type 2 diabetes and had changed her diet after she had inked a lucrative deal with drugmaker Novo Nordisk. That, to me, and to thousands of other Food Network viewers, ruined any kind of goodwill I had in regard to Paula Deen.

That Paula Deen occasionally told an off-color joke or occasionally used a derogatory word in the company of fellow white Southerners? Not so much.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning racism -- or sexism. But there is a difference between telling the occasional politically incorrect joke (which WE ALL have done) and truly believing that one race or sex or religion is superior or inferior to another.

But even if Paula Deen was proven to be a racist (and I'm not sure how you'd do that), or have racist opinions, is that grounds for being fired? Maybe if you are an elementary school teacher. But the host of a Southern cooking show? (And, btw, the Food Network did not fire Deen. It just decided not to renew her contract at this time. Which means it could re-sign her at any time. Which it may very well do.)

By the way, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Fox, a network that seems to consider racism, sexism, ignorance, and intolerance job qualifications not disqualifications, gave Paula Deen her own cooking show. Nor would it surprise me if the Food Network re-hired Deen a few months or a year from now. Because as we all know, what's a little racism compared to big ratings, y'all?

THIS JUST IN: Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer (and here I thought that was Congress), has just fired Paula Deen as its spokeswoman. The reason? Per a company statement, Smithfield "condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind." (I'll believe that when pigs fly. I think it's just one more company jumping on the politically correct bandwagon.)


Anonymous said...

I agree with everything.

Nothing funny or further to say, other then, she said things at work-so past employees said she created a hostile work environment-which she should be fired for.

Fox Networks-here comes Dean!!!

James Curley said...

Well, if ya want to sling hash on national tee vee, ya gotta pay the price when ya talk like yer in the Ar-Vee... y'all.

Dave S. said...

Deen was a public representative of Food Network, as opposed to, say, a camera operator or pasta wrangler. Her opinions, past or present, rightly or wrongly, reflect on her employer, so the employer in this case cut her loose to minimize damage to the brand.

Smithfield, meanwhile, probably just dodged a boycott.

As a commenter elsewhere (I think on TNC's blog at the Atlantic) said, "We're butter off without her."