In a world where news is spread at a touch of a button and nothing is sacred, we have become accustomed to celebrities causing scandals that eventually destroy their careers.

Like Brian Williams, who made erroneous claims about his helicopter coming under enemy fire during the Iraq War, or Ashlee Simpson falling from grace after she was caught lip-syncing during an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Michael Groover and his wife Paula Deen at the premiere of "Elizabethtown"Michael Groover and his wife Paula Deen at the premiere of “Elizabethtown” at Loews Lincoln Square in New York City on October 10, 2005 (Credit: Marion Curtis / Startraksphoto)

Even Kanye West, whose many scandals made him seemingly untouchable, made unforgivable antisemitic remarks that destroyed his image in the eyes of every reasonable person in the world.

The list goes on and on, but today we’re focusing on the evil queen of celebrity chefs: Paula Deen.

Paula Deen’s career had humble beginnings

Unlike many celebrity foodies, Paula Deen didn’t attend a prestigious culinary school. Instead, she first found notoriety with a home delivery catering service she called The Bag Lady, as her sons delivered meals made by Deen to office workers.

The catering service was a huge hit, resulting in Paula Deen moving up the culinary world before opening her first restaurant in 1996.

Paula DeenPaula Deen’s Family Kitchen, located at The Island in Pigeon Forge, a 23-acre entertainment destination in Tennessee, offers views of the Island Show Fountain along with the Great Smoky Mountains (Credit: Robin Gentry / Shutterstock)

Paula Deen began to franchise, opening restaurants all over the country. She also made her way into television sets around the world with her own show on the Food Network, Paula’s Home Cooking, as well as other spin-offs around her cooking and her life, such as Paula’s Party, Paula’s Best Dishes, Positively Paula, and even an appearance on Dancing With the Stars.

At the peak of her career, 75-year-old Paula Deen had an estimated net worth of $17 million. However, the celebrity chef’s success was soon hindered by her own hateful admissions.

Paula Deen was sued by a former employee for racial discrimination

In 2012, Paula Deen’s wholesome public image was shattered when a former employee, Lisa Jackson, filed a lawsuit against Deen—as well as Deen’s brother, “Uncle Bubba,” and members of Deen’s company—claiming both racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

During Paula Deen’s deposition in 2013, she was asked if she had ever used the racial slur, the “n-word.” The chef simply responded, “Yes, of course.”

In response to allegations that she frequently subjected her employees to racist and inappropriate jokes at the workplace, Deen replied in a blasé manner, saying, “It’s just what they are—they’re jokes. Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, Black folks… I can’t determine what offends another person.”

Paula Deen cook samples from her cookbook Southern Baking on Fox & Friends in New York CityPaula Deen cook samples from her cookbook Southern Baking on Fox & Friends in New York City on September 19, 2019 (Credit: INSTARimages / Roger Wong)

Jackson also alleged that Paula Deen asked her Black employees to act like slaves during an Antebellum-themed restaurant wedding event. Deen’s response was as such: “That restaurant represented a certain era in America… before the Civil War… It was not only Black men, [but] Black women… I would say they were slaves.”

Though the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, Paula Deen’s damning comments during her deposition ruined her career, which was at its peak around that time. Food Network, along with nearly all of Deen’s endorsement partners, chose not to renew the celebrity chef’s contracts and pulled advertising materials that featured Deen.

Somehow, Paula Deen has been able to make a bit of a comeback

Despite her horrific admissions of racism which continued long after the lawsuit—like tearfully commiserating with slave owners and asking Black employees to dress like Aunt Jemima, to name a few—Paula Deen managed not to lose everything.

Though her net worth took a hit after the lawsuit and following scandals, Paula Deen is still worth an estimated $12 million as of this year.

Chef Paula Deen promotes her cookbook, "At The Southern Table with Paula Deen"Chef Paula Deen promotes her cookbook, “At The Southern Table with Paula Deen” at Build Studio on September 22, 2017, in New York City (Credit: INSTARimages / Roger Wong)

Paula Deen continues to open restaurants, most recently Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Panama City Beach in 2021.

She is still a prolific cookbook author, releasing her latest creation, Paula Deen’s Southern Baking, in 2019. Her books and cookware seem to be selling well on Amazon. Even more, she was invited to be a ‘Legend’ guest judge during a 2021 episode of Masterchef.

Nancy ONancy O’Dell, Michelle Williams, Nancy Davis, Lisa Vanderpump, Heather Dubrow, and Paula Deen attend Celebrating The Women Of EVINE Live at Villa Blanca on September 29, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California (Credit: Tony DiMaio / Startraksphoto)

For some ungodly reason, Paula Deen being “canceled” didn’t last. If you ask us, none of Deen’s recipes are delicious enough to forgive her many documented acts of racism.

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Kay Adams