Yep, Y’All! Southern cooking doyenne Paula Deen recently made her first public appearance following a season of scandal over claims of racial discrimination by a former employee at her Savannah, GA, restaurant… And she came back to thunderous applause!
Deen and her sons – whom you’ve seen on her show many times, if you’re a fan – were headlining on the demonstration kitchen stage at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show in Houston, TX, earlier this month. She came on to a 10-minute standing ovation and broke down in tears… That reception proved what a number of previous opinion polls had declared: That it would take a lot more than an accusation by a former employee, about something that happened ‘a long, long time ago’, to alienate her fan base.
What Deen did lose was most of her former sponsors and merchandising partners. And her beloved spot on The FOOD Network (USA). The high-profile, image-paranoid Powers that Be dropped her like a hot rock within a few days of the scandal breaking. First one… Then a stampede of others, until almost all of her sources of sponsorship income had deserted her like the proverbial rats fleeing the sinking ship. Thing is – as we now know – the good ship Paula didn’t sink, after all!
Will some or all of those sponsors come back? Now that the lawsuit has been settled quietly out of court? Now that Paula’s personal army has reaffirmed its undying loyalty? Now that she’s salable again?
I’ll believe she’s back to stay when The FOOD Network puts her back on the schedule. As they should. And as a growing coterie of fans is demanding.
Stay tuned for further developments as they unfold!
~ Maggie J.