Tags: jimmy | carter | paula | deen

Jimmy Carter: Public Should Forgive Paula Deen

Image: Jimmy Carter: Public Should Forgive Paula Deen

Friday, 28 Jun 2013 04:14 PM

By Dan Weil

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Former President Jimmy Carter says Americans should forgive celebrity chef Paula Deen for her use of racial slurs.

Though her language was unacceptable, Deen has been truthful and apologetic, he told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux in an interview Friday.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit deposition was released in which Deen admitted having uttered the n-word. Since then, she has stressed that she's not prejudiced, but Deen's apologies have failed to quell the tumult.

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Her Southern cooking business has been hit hard, as big brands suspend or axe their relationship with her.

Deen's upcoming cookbook, currently the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com, has been dropped by its publisher.

In a brief statement Friday, Ballantine Books announced it had cancelled publication of "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up." The book was scheduled for October.

Deen has lost many of her business relationships following revelations that she used racial slurs in the past. Sears and J.C. Penney on Friday said that they're cutting ties with Deen, following similar announcements from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Home Depot.

Last week, the Food Network said that it would not renew her contract. She was also dropped by Smithfield Foods, Caesars Entertainment stripped her name from restaurants and drug company Novo Nordisk said it was suspending its work with her.

 

QVC took a more gentle approach on Friday and announced that it was "taking a pause" from Deen. The home shopping network said it will phase out her product assortment on its online sales channels over the next few months.

But QVC left the door open for Deen to return. "People deserve second chances."

Former President Carter Agrees

"She was maybe excessively honest in saying that she had in the past, 30 years ago, used this terrible word," Carter said. "I think she has been punished, perhaps overly severely, for her honesty in admitting it and for the use of the word in the distant past. She's apologized profusely."

Carter said he advised Deen to "let the dust settle and make apologies."

Not everyone appears to be in a forgiving mood. In interviews with The New York Times, "many black Southern chefs and even some of her fans said Ms. Deen’s words seemed to reveal a disrespect for the people and traditions at the roots of Southern cuisine, the culture that made her famous, rich and a role model for many culinary entrepreneurs," the paper reports.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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