Because everyone else still loves her — and keeps buying her products.
Because we can’t get enough of Paula Deen and her cruise adventures, writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner pens an epic description of what the Paula Deen camp is like on her infamous cruise, and what being Team Paula Deen means today. And really, she concludes, there’s no stopping the Team Paula Deen.
While giving us all too vivid descriptions of what happens when Deen bends over in see-through white leggings and the party cruise gang, Brodesser-Akner also explains why Deen still continues to win support and say f*ck it to just about everything. In it, she claims that people who weren’t even Deen fans before Racistgate 2013 became fervent supporters after, wanting to defend her right to use the N-word, we guess? Brodesser-Akner writes:
An investment in Paula Deen conveys a deep understanding of America’s political temperature and where we’re headed: that Paula’s comeback isn’t about forgiveness — it’s about standing her ground. … Now we are a nation that is leaning further and further toward conservative clansmanship and white tribalism, and this sets Paula on her way to being a true tycoon of her own martyrdom.
We also learn that yep, Deen is still making money from certain products:
And there is still profit to be squeezed from the Paula Deen brand. Deen’s products — through collaborations with Meyer Corporation, among others—had seen a reported 35 percent sales increase in the first two quarters of this year; subscriptions to her magazine reportedly grew by 40 percent. (For perspective, in those two quarters, paid subscriptions for magazines in general faltered 1.8 percent and single-copy newsstand sales fell a significant 11.9 percent from a year before.)
But, no one’s entirely sure how the newly launched Paula Deen Network will fare. Brodesser-Akner points out that the least expensive subscription option is about the same price as Netflix, but that nearly all of her recipes from her former TV shows (of which, remember, she bought all the rights) can be found on Pinterest.
Brodesser-Akner also points out that the firing by the Food Network was a long time coming, thanks to the diabetes drug deal she made in secret. And by that point, she wasn’t doing much for the Food Network name anyways:
At the time that the story broke that she’d admitted to using the N-word during a deposition in a lawsuit brought by a manager in one of her restaurants, her Food Network contract was already under review. (Besides, a judge later dismissed the racial bias claim against her.) I was told that Paula didn’t have the typical arrangement in which Food Network would see a portion of the profits from her licensing deals, as it reportedly did with its other stars. She was only making them ad money. But that ad money was on the wane, because her ratings were in the gutter.
Welp. But still, Deen’s going to still keep being Deen, however uncomfortable that might be for
the sane people in the world the rest of us. She concludes:
… Paula Deen got into this mess because of Paula Deen. She can be unapologetically ruthless when it comes to growing the fortunes of her family while keeping those around her just not-broke enough to survive and be grateful — and this ruthlessness she hides behind the very acceptable Southern value of looking out for your children. She can use her warmth and charisma to pull people in, and she doesn’t quite understand or care about the damage she’s done when she shows them the door. And though she may not say the N-word anymore—and she sure as hell won’t admit to saying it if she does ever again — she is still someone who will call out her longtime bodyguard in front of a crowd to show he is as “black as that board” (referring to a chalk board) and therefore how could she be racist? She is someone who will invite Brad the Grill Sergeant on a cruise — Brad, who is a a real person, who served our country, and who is now reduced by the Paula Deen machine, and I regret, also by me in this story, to someone who is just a token of his color — and leave him wondering exactly what he’s doing there and maybe even, in the pit of his stomach, knowing full well what the answer is.
You can be not-racist and still be kind of a bad person.
And there you have it.
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