Pre-Paragraph: My goals for this writing project are very simple; First I want to complete the assignment, Second I want to get the best possible grade I can, and third I want to write a non-narrative. I plan to achieve my first goal of wanting to complete the assignment by writing the required amount of words, which is at least 900 words. I need to include all that is required under APA formatting, which includes a reference list and a running header. For my second goal, getting the best possible grade I can, I know that just completing the work is a C. I need to make sure my sources are cited correctly and have a hanging indentation for every additional line after the first. I need to have at least two in-text citations. My margins need to be one inch all around, along with a header. To get the extra twenty five points, I need to make my project visually appealing. As for my third goal, which is writing a non-narrative, it’s pretty simple, don’t write a story. My project is written as an expository narrative. My intended audience is general. Those in the cooking field, fans of Paula Deen, anyone interested in the Paula Deen Debacle. I hope my project provides clarity on the Paula Deen situation.
Another Fallen Empire
After months of wildfire publicity, the lawsuit that was instrumental in the virtual destruction of the Paula Deen empire was dismissed by the federal judge hearing the case. A week before, the judge had dismissed the racial discrimination portion of the lawsuit. Why? Because the plaintiff, Lisa Jackson, is white, as is Miss Deen. All that remained was the sexual harassment claims. No court costs or attorney fees were awarded to either side. It is unclear if any settlement was made. The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means it cannot ever be resurrected. It was not the lawsuit itself that was such a destructive force. Most people never even knew of it. It was a deposition that did it. Specifically, it was Deen’s admission that in the distant pass, she used the word “nigger.” The deposition, which was given in May, made headlines and the repercussions were severe. The end of the lawsuit is probably not going to do much to restore Deen’s reputation or bring those corporate sponsors back. It will not get her book contract reinstated. Because the lawsuit is not what caused their loss. The deposition, which became a matter of public record when it was filed with the court was found by a local newspaper, the Savannah Morning News, which then proceeded to published it (Deposition 25).
Food Network yanked her show and refused to renew her contract. Walmart ended their business relationship. Smithfield terminated their partnership. Novo Nordisk, which makes a diabetes drug, stopped using her as a spokeswoman. QVC dropped her. Her publisher canceled her contract for a new cookbook, despite the staggering amount of pre-orders. Target dropped her. Caesars Entertainment decided not to renew her contract and four restaurants in different casinos were closed. Whit-Ash Furnishings yanked a commercial in which she appeared. And Home Depot dropped her. Sear’s, Kmart, Walgreen’s and J.C. Penney’s joined the exodus. All in all, Deen lost at least $7.5 million in endorsement deals, and at least another $5 million in television deals and the four restaurants. Last year, Deen’s income was $17 million, making her the fourth-highest paid celebrity chef in the U.S.
Deen has been a lightning rod for controversy before this. She came under fire in early 2012 when she revealed that she suffers from diabetes. Why? Because she kept her diagnosis a secret while continuing to push her high-fat-high-calorie signature foods. Paula is all about butter and deep-frying. Critics called her a hypocrite and worse. Even before the deposition debacle, fellow celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain said of her to TV Guide, “[Deen is the] worst, most dangerous person to America. Someone who revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and [is] proud of the fact that her food is f—ing bad for you” (Bourdain, 2013, p. 1).
Despite everything, Deen maintains a strong, large, and vocal fan base. Business at her family-run restaurants remains strong and loyal. In many ways, though, it just isn’t about her food anymore. If you believe that her past use of racial slurs makes her a racist, does that mean that using her cookware or eating in her restaurants makes you a racist, too? Will making her deep-fried lasagna now be a hate crime?
I like Paula Deen. She comes across as a warm, friendly woman. I’ve watched her show in the past. I would probably watch it again. I don’t know if she is a racist. I know I am not. I know that some of her best known offerings are just not my cup of tea. Deep-fried lasagna. Stuffing on a stick. Fried butter balls. A little too much for me, despite my deep, abiding love for all things butter. On the other hand, some of her casserole dishes are both easy to make and very tasty. Deen is not fine-dining. A quick perusal of many of her top 100 recipes use canned vegetables and soups. Her Twinkie pie calls a box of Twinkies. By the way, those top 100 recipes can be found on foodnetwork.com.
Will Deen be able to put it all behind her? It remains to be seen. Not all her corporate sponsors and partners have deserted her. She has hired new publicists. Just last month, she appeared on MasterChef. As I mentioned above, Food Network still has her bio and recipes on its website. There have been other celebrity chef scandals. The Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith, was sued in 1997, by seven men who claimed he sexually abused them when they were teenagers. (Smith settled out of court.) Mario Batali and his partner were sued by their employees, who accused them of pocketing their tips, among other things. Rumors of infidelity have swirled around Bobby Flay for years. Flay is married to actress Stephanie March. And Guy Fieri has been accused of homophobia, and his Times Square restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar was destroyed by a devastating review by New York Times critic, Peter Wells. With the exception of Smith, who died in 2004, all these scandal-touched chefs are going strong today.
Overcoming racial charges, however, is much more difficult. Her supporters and detractors for the most part react on much more personal levels, none of which have anything to do with her abilities as a chef. Such deep personal divides may well always make her “damaged goods” in the corporate eyes, leaving her unable to ever fully rebound businesswise. One is left to wonder if it might have been better for all had she simply settled the suit in the beginning, when all she would have lost was the $1.2.
Conley, M. (2012, January 18). Anthony Bourdain slams Paula Deen for diabetes-drug partnership. Abcnews.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/anthony-bourdain-slams-paula-deen/story?id=15386289
Transcript of the testimony of Paula Deen. (2013, May 17). CNN.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/06/entertainment/deen-deposition/
Forbes, P. (2013, June 26). Paula Deen’s endorsement deals: who’s In & who’s out. Eater.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://eater.com/archives/2013/06/26/paula-deen-endorsements.php
Lazarowitz, E. (2013, June 28). Paula Deen has lost as much as $12.5 million in earnings over N-word controversy. Nydailynews.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/deen-lost-12-5-million-experts-article-1.1385469
The Today Show. (2013). “Complete Paula Deen ‘Today Show Interview’. Youtube.com. Youtube. Web. 20 October, 2013.
Post Paragraph: I believe I have accomplished my goals. My first goal was to complete the assignment, which I have. It is 931 words long, excluding the reference list, title, and header. I have a header and reference list that is required under APA formatting. As for getting the highest grade possible I have double check my reference to make sure it was in the proper format. Although it does not show on my blog page I do have hanging indentions for my sources and my margins are one inch all around. I have inserted the word document file. For the extra twenty five points I have included a video, Paula Deen’s interview on The Today Show for visual stimulation. And I have broken up the text into paragraphs for clarity and so it will be easier to read for my audience. For my third goal, I did not write a narrative. I wrote an expository narrative, which I discussed with Professor Harrison in my October 8th meeting as accomplished. I didn’t find writing a non-narrative to be all that challenging, but when discussed with classmates and Professor Harrison, I realized there were some narrative like qualities in my project which were later address in a meeting and declared as an expository narrative which was perfectly acceptable. I had a lot of difficulties in regards to my header, it took me quite a few try’s to get a running header. I had to look up how to cite website articles in APA and I used the website http://www.bibme.org/citation-guide/APA/website to help.