Before we called ‘cancel culture’ cancel culture, Paula Deen ruined her career because of racism. The once-beloved chef was sued for racial discrimination in 2013, and it rocked her empire. What has she been up to since then? Let’s find out.
A Quick Refresher
Deen was an early Food Network star. Paula’s Home Cooking quickly beget additional shows all focused on her style of southern cooking. Her fame coincided with numerous successful cookbooks and restaurants. By 2013, she was one of the famous chefs in the country.
Then the chickens came home to roost. In 2013 Deen was taken to court by Lisa Jackson over racial and sexual discrimination. Specifically, Deen was called out for her repeated use of the N-word. She also came under fire over fantasizing about a “Southern plantation-style” wedding where black male servers would tend to white guests, an homage to American slavery. The suit was later dismissed.
Unlike many other folks, the racism seriously derailed Deen’s career. She was dropped by Food Network, QVC, and lost basically every sponsorship. Deen became shorthand for a celebrity who disappeared due to racist comments coming to life, and lives now as a punchline.
What’s She Been Up To?
Contrary to popular belief, Deen’s life didn’t totally spiral out of control. Sure, her Food Network show got canceled, but her restaurants stayed in business. Earlier this year she reopened Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, so her restaurant empire didn’t go anywhere. She was able to land a new book publisher as well and continues to distribute a fairly successful magazine. If you’re looking for Paula Deen, she’s not hard to find.
In 2015, Deen attempted a mainstream comeback by going on Dancing With The Stars. She made it to week five but ultimately lost to Bindi Irwin. She now hosts multiple syndicated shows for fledging networks like ShopHQ and Roku.
Yet Another Comeback
Deen is now attempting yet another mainstream comeback. She’s returning to the series Masterchef alongside chef Gordon Ramsay. She’s joining this season, christened Masterchef: Legends, to help Ramsay award $250,000 to a home cook. Just for a hoot, here’s an ancient clip of Bourdain visiting one of Ramsay’s restaurants. This clip served as an introduction of Ramsay to a TV audience. Deen’s latest stint on Masterchef failed to generate much controversy, so perhaps she’s back to stay.