Celebrity chef and trans-fat enthusiast Paula Deen apologized to her family, business partners and friends in a video statement posted to YouTube on Friday after she admitted to using racial slurs in the past.
Earlier this week, a transcript of a videotaped deposition for an ongoing lawsuit against Deen, 66, and her brother was widely circulated online.
In the lawsuit, a former employee of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House — co-owned by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers –alleges sexual and racial harassment.
The transcript of the deposition shows Deen admitting to using the “n-word” in the past, although she said that “Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is.”
When asked by her lawyer if she had ever used the slur, Deen replied “Yes, of course,” adding that it had been a very long time since she used it. She also admitted to saying the word when relaying conversations black employees had had with each other, but that she does not say the word anymore.
“Things have changed since the ‘60s in the South,” she said, according to the transcript. “And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.”
Deen’s public relations team went into overdrive this week, releasing a long statement and scheduling an interview set for Friday on “The Today Show” with Matt Lauer, which she cancelled at the last minute.
Instead, the celeb chef posted a video apology to YouTube Friday afternoon.
“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done. I want to learn and grow from this,” she pleaded. “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you — my children, my team, my fans, my partners — I beg for your forgiveness. Please forgive me for the mistakes that I’ve made.”
The Savannah, Ga.-bred Deen started appearing on The Food Network in 1999, and has had a series of her own cooking shows, TV specials, cookbooks and popular restaurants.
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