In this Jan. 17, 2012 file image originally released by NBC, co-host Al Roker speaks to celebrity chef and TV personality Paula Deen about her diabetes on the "Today", in New York. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)
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LOS ANGELES — Paula Deen was fired Friday afternoon by the Food Network over her use of a racial epithet—the N-word—and other racially charged comments.
The Food Network’s statement was short and to the point: “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”
The network statement capped a day in which the controversy unfolded on several fronts. First, the Queen of Southern Cooking canceled a planned appearance on the “Today” show. Host Matt Lauer said Deen skipped the appearance even though she had earlier agreed to a candid, no-holds barred discussion. Her representatives cited exhaustion.
Then, later in the day, Deen took a stab at damage control when she took to YouTube to apologize “for mistakes I have made” and ask fans and family for forgiveness. “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable,” she said in the brief video.
But shortly after it was posted, the video disappeared. Minutes after that, the Food Network released its statement. Unclear is whether the two events were in any way related and the network was not commenting beyond the statement.
The Paula Deen brand extends well beyond the Food Network.