Not everyone thinks that Paula Deen’s admitted use of the N-word and other racial slurs demands the end of her empire, but her sponsors aren't’ taking any chances. As of June 30, 2013, Target, The Food Network, Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, Caesar’s Entertainment and the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has abandoned the cooking guru. Deen’s empire is crumbling around her and many wonder if she’ll make a comeback like other celebrities who have seen their fair share of controversy and abandonment.
Some celebrities who have been in a place similar to Deen include Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, and Lance Armstrong. While Tiger Woods and Stewart may be credited with the best
Michael Richards who played Cosmo Kramer on “Seinfeld” is still haunted by his career demise when he referred to several audience members at his stand-up, comedy routine in West Hollywood’s Laugh Factory as the N-word and other racial slurs. The incident occurred in 2006, and Richards has yet to rebound from the scandal.
Martha Stewart’s and Tiger Woods’ scandals were of a different element entirely. Another example of how difficult it can be to recover from racist scandals is Academy Award winning director and producer Mel Gibson. Though his acting career continues, many will readily acknowledge that the name Mel Gibson doesn’t hold the same clout it once had. Gibson has been caught making several anti-semitic references and rage-filled, audio tapes of his fights with business partners and his ex-girlfriend went public showing the actor in a dim light. What Gibson may have in his favor post-scandal that Richards and Deen do not have, is a well-publicized alcohol addiction. With Gibson, there is a reason behind his behavior, one that could be treated through abstinence and behavioral counseling.
Like Richards, Deen may find that there is no comeback awaiting her in the future. That doesn’t mean; however, that Deen is through.
In fact, Deen’s die-hard fans have rallied to her support. Her book sales are up and business at her restaurant is booming.
This may not mean the ultimate end for Deen, but it may mean significant change. If Deen never gets back on The Food Network, or has her products in Target and Wal-Mart, that doesn’t mean she’s through. She just may have to find different outlets.
Duane Lee "Dog" Chapman, Sr from “Dog the Bounty Hunter” endured his own racial scandal and fallout when tapes of him using the N-word went public. A&E dropped his show, but later reinstated it after hearing his side of the story.
What the future holds for Deen is anyone’s guess, but at this point, it appears that she’s in for a time of upheaval and change as sponsors are dropping her faster than Deen can say “I is what I is, and I'm not changing,” to Matt Lauer on ‘Today.’