MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Paula Deen turned a beachside cooking demonstration into a public apology Sunday for the racist comments that decimated her career last year.
The former Food Network star took the stage to prepare chicken and dumplings at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, but before beginning asked the crowd if they minded if she talked about something serious for a moment. Without ever explicitly discussing the allegations or comments she has admitted making, she said she was glad to be back and that I am not a quitter.
We have come off of a very hard summer my family and I, my team, my partners, she said to a cheering crowd of several hundred fans. But you know, I have heard on more than one occasion ... that I’ve never apologized. So if anybody did not hear me apologize, I would like to apologize to those who did not hear me.
Last summer, during a legal dispute with a former employee who accused her of racial discrimination and sexual harassment, Deen acknowledged having used racial slurs in the past. Most of her endorsement, book and TV deals fell apart within days.