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What Will Happen to Paula Deen’s Employees?

When you're looking for jobs, the company brand is almost as important as the position's title, pay, and responsibilities. Ideally, you want to find your dream gig at a brand other people will recognize and have positive associations with. At the very least, it makes for a shorter explanation in job interviews down the road. In the wake of the allegations of racism against Paula Deen, we look at what happens to a company's employees after an organization winds up with egg all over its public face.

When you’re looking for jobs, the company brand is almost as important as the position’s title, pay, and responsibilities. Ideally, you want to find your dream gig at a brand other people will recognize and have positive associations with. At the very least, it makes for a shorter explanation in job interviews down the road. In the wake of the allegations of racism against Paula Deen, we look at what happens to a company’s employees after an organization winds up with egg all over its public face.

Although technically, the Food Network just didn’t renew her contract, their statement made it pretty clear that the decision was abrupt and influenced by her recent publicity woes.

(If you need a refresher on the specifics, this timeline on Food Network Gossip Blog is a good place to start. Bear in mind, though, that it’s next to impossible to find a neutral take on these events, and this one appears to be slightly pro-Deen. Bring your own perspective to the table.)

What seems to be missing in much of the discussion about the Deen saga is what happens to the employees who work for her shows, “Paula’s Best Dishes” and “Paula’s Home Cooking.” Bottom line: nothing good.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

“The staff is probably out, most production employment contracts are written to say that if production ceases, their jobs come to an end unless you get a guaranteed ‘pay or play’ deal,” television executive Lonnie Burstein told Fox News. “But it’s no different to any other show getting canceled. It’s the nature of the business.”

A source told Fox that Deen’s cancellation could affect up to 15 employees, although many might be moved onto other shows on the Food Network. No official figures exist with respect to how many employees worked exclusively for Deen’s shows.

So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, what should you do?

1. Remember that you are not your employer. Most interviewers are aware of the fact that employees have no control over what your boss does. Don’t feel like you need to apologize for his or her behavior.

2. Don’t volunteer information. If the interviewer asks about the troubles, keep it brief. When in doubt, say as little as possible.

3. Emphasize your skills. Because, again, you’re not responsible for anything your employer may or may not have done, your goal should be to highlight what practical knowledge you acquired in the course of doing the job.

Tell Us What You Think

What advice would you give Paula Deen’s former employees? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Paula Deen

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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42 Comments on "What Will Happen to Paula Deen’s Employees?"

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It appears that the Food Network has morphed into what it is now much in the same way that the Entertainment Sports Political Network ESPN and has – all programing with a definite liberal slant. I have quit watching both – and am not missing a thing. Have never felt like OWN was worth watching either.


Anyone who believes Paula only used the n word once 30 years ago is fooling themselves.  I absolutely LOVE Paula but she is from the South and that language seems to be more readily accepted there than in other parts of the country.


Whatever your opinion on the Dean scene, an important thing to remember if your ex-employer is involved in a scandal.  Your future employer may be curious about the details or about whether you will divulge them.  Someday they may be in a similar situation.  Would they be able to rely on your discretion?


Stop watching Food Network, they fired her before the case was tried in a court of law, she was found innocent. They just wanted her off the network. This is Media at its best working against a good person. “Stop buying products from all company’s that dropped her. It really is easy to do!



She is human and capable of making mistakes.  If I looked back 30 years there are many things I’ve said that I wish I could change, but I’m certainly not going to lie about it in a court of law.  My issue is that if she said those things present day while under an employment contract with Food Network, QVC, etc. then absolutely fire her.  Irresponsible.  She is representing their image.  If however, she said these things before either of these companies were incorporated, how can they hold her responsible for her actions?  I truly feel her freedom of speech… Read more »
I can TRUTHFULLY say I have never used the N word, it wasn’t said to me as a youth and I hadn’t heard it even living in the South until I heard Blacks say it to each other. I still to this day would never say it, however I hear it a lot in song lyrics spoken by Blacks and I don’t understand why. Paula admitted she said it, however since it was so long ago it should not have affected her job.  Look at the politicians who constantly lie, cheat and the scandals and they are allowed to continue… Read more »
“According to Nielsen, the audience for “Paula’s Favorite Dishes” had shrunk almost 25% in 2013 to 835,000 viewers from 1.1 million viewers in 2012. It was a similar story among the 25-54 demographic, which was her show’s sweet spot. In that category, Dean’s numbers fell 32% from 446,000 viewers last year to 304,000 this year” -Los Angeles Times (June 24, 2013) The people who put these shows on cable don’t care if a celebrity is a racist. They care if that person can generate good numbers. Deen was already on her way out before the scandal. All this incident did… Read more »
Chester B. Goode

If any person placed a weapon to my head regardless of

ethnicity, I would call him or her sir or madam.

What she admitted to is saying it “long ago”. I grew up in the same “long ago” she did. The “n” word was considered slang back then, but not an insult. Many people used it both in the north and the south. Now if she’d used it last week or last year, I’d say shame on her. But because there’s no proof yet that she said it other than the “long ago” she admitted to, I’d say forgive and forget, and judge her on who she is, how she acts, how she treats others and what she says now, because… Read more »
You know I was born and raised in the south and got my butt beat and then got a fork thrown at me which stuck in my stomach for letting a black friend use my brother’s baseball glove.  I had a black lady that helped raise me. I went to school with many different races but of all the races that I have met in eastern N.C. I have never met an African.  I have met many black Americans. My family tree seems to point to the fact that my ancestors on both sides came from Ireland.  But I don’t go… Read more »



If a black or white man put a gun to my face i don’t know what i might call them also fearing for my life

From time to time, the person at the top just gets overthrown by someone who thinks they are big enough to take on the job. Using the race card almost quaranteed she would go down. HOW ridiculous! I live in the south, not much of a cook, but get by. I, myself, am SICK of Paula Deen and her “bought teeth” and fancy appearance, PLUS that AWFUL southern drawl that most of us do NOT EVEN sound like. I think she had gotten to big for her britches anyhow, had nothing to do with race. It’s time for her to… Read more »

the only bad thing about PD is her wig collection and her altogether disgusting food. 


Glad that this womans show is off the air. Really dont care what word she used.  Southern cooking.. yikes.. save yourself the trouble of cooking  and just inject yourself with some pork lard.  I am sure she will find some employment at Fox news !

John P.

This is turning into a McCarthy-esque fishing expedition -for all potentially.Like some perverse litmus test-how will one answer if the question is posed and a job opportunity hags on the answer? -” do you like paula deen ?” Back on point-they will be faced with three choices -the truth that may exonerate her somewhat, read: that she never used epithets in their presence.Or two-that she did routinely utter such insensitive remarks .Third -no comment…that they are getting out of the food business.


When will you people realize that none of Paula’s problems have anything to do with that word.  As CEO of her company, she is paying the price for failing to rein in her abusive, porn-addicted brother.  If as little as one percent of the charges in the lawsuit is true, she is getting what she deserved.  Keep her off of my TV and take the Sandwich King with her. 


put paula back on! she could not have used the word more than I hear every day on my street from whites calling whites NI to BLACKS calling Black n to blacks calling Whites NI I keep telling them not to or they might get fired too!!!!!

It’s just like the “Twinkie” excitement this past week….the news media sent their gophers out to buy boxes of the newly produced “Twinkie” made by the “new” makers of the “old” Twinkie mfgrs….they were so excited that Twinkies were back on the shelf……but not once did they mention why Twinkies had been off the shelf for 9 months…..and how many jobs were lost because the Union decided not to negotiate with the company that used to make Twinkies….so they all lost their jobs…and was it worth it?  If you ask the UNEMPLOYED union workers that taxpayers are responsible for now,… Read more »
Charlie Daniels, is an American Patriot and famous Country Western Singer. Please take time to read his recent comments of July 1, 2013. Pass this on if you agree. The Press and Paula Deen – Soapbox 07/01/13 I think that if anything exemplifies the overt prejudice and determination of the American media to report only the news that suits their social and political interests and concept of what does and does not fit their agenda, it’s the totally overblown coverage of something Paula Deen said 20 years ago, and some party she planned that she wanted to resemble a plantation… Read more »

Paula refused to help the manager at her, and her brothers

restaurant when the manager told her Bubba was a problem with the employees.  5 yrs later, she still refused to act.  That is why Paula is in court…..not the N word.  Paula is an arrogant, insensitive woman.  She let her employees suffer under her brother.  She owns 51% and

is responsible.

Vickie F.

Look, lets stop with the well black people say stuff.  The truth of the matter is that by and large most Black people support Paula.  It was 30 years ago.  She gets a pass on it. Dog the Bounty Hunter did the same thing last year and they canceled his show and then a month later brought him back with a new show. My father because of his position always liked to be picked up in a white limo with a white driver.  Was he a racist? No,  He was just a product of the old south P.S I am Black.

JM in San Diego CA

Best takeaway:  ” … say as little as possible.”


If I were a former employee looking for work, I’d just say, “She always treated me well,” whether it were true or not.  

When I’ve interviewed a prospective hire, I was put off if they mentioned any rotten (former) jobs they’ve had.  It shouldn’t matter and it suggests I’m talking to a malcontent.


I am black and I think it is absurd that she is being blamed for something that happened over 30 years ago!!  I’m very angry that they have pulled her off of the FoodNetwork and all the others who have fallen in suite to distance themselves from her.  I absolutely hope she comes out on top of all this foolishness.  I think everyone has made sometype of racial slur what we should be mad about is Travon Martin being killed for going home and defending himself!!


Martin, you’re an absolute moron.

norman scott

Paula Deen’s worst sin was far more then her racism… She advocated recipes and diet that are one of the most costly issues in our republic: Obesity and Diabetes…. If you follow her diet…. you will die prematurely and you will cost the tax payers a great deal to do so…  She should be brought up on charges of sedition… and food terrorism… for she is the food Taliban…

As for her employees… you make your bed.

Paula is NOT just another Southern racist. I read EVERY SINGLE WORD of her deposition and 99% of it involved her brother, Bubba, and the restaurant HE runs.  Yes, Paula owns 1/2 of it but she has not had time to be at her own restaurant, let alone his.  He is the one accused of immoral and racial activities.  NOT PAULA. She traveled so much that she rarely stopped in at her own restaurant much less at her brother’s place.  She had NOTHING WHATEVER to do with what HE DID. Admitting to a racial slur over 30 years ago does not make her a stupid… Read more »
patricia montello

the media wins again how could you do this after 30 years ago I am debating if ever I will watch a cooking show by food network very disappointed in you what a way to ruin a good carea


I’m not sure why, but whenever a black person calls a white person, “honky, whitey, cracker, white bread, etc.” I get offended. If a white calls a black anything other than black, you’d better have a lawyer ready to fight the NAACP. Obama is president, there is no inequality now. Give up all the racist organizations, schools, TV station, government programs. If you were born in America, you’re American; not African-American, Irish-American, Greek American… Just a plain-‘ole American. Get off your soapbox, pull up your big-boy panties and start living the American dream.

Are you serious???? There isnt one person who hasnt said at least one racial slur in thier life..even if they didnt mean to in a fit of anger or singing a rap song.  What about all the N words in todays music?? Are the same companies droping those music artists cd’s from their shelves like they did Paula’s items.  C’mon ppl she hasnt been convicted of anything yet. And No Martin she didnt say she wanted N—–s to wear anything! You must not have read the trasncripts. Just making shit up as you go along so you can be viewed as right.… Read more »
Brock,   YOU IGNORANT FOOL!  What is TOTALLY SHOCKING and ABSURD is that in the 21st century we still have STUPID HILLBILLYS like Paula Deen that still want to do a wedding in “true Southern plantation-style theme” (HER WORDS), when asked what she meant, SHE REPLIED: “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—-rs to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts, and black bow-ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around”, that didn’t happened 30 years ago, this is recent news, and it truly shows the racism in Paula Deen’s heart, racism that unlike most… Read more »

It is so TOTALLY SHOCKING and ABSURD what out media is doing to poor Paula!  For a WORD she said 30 YEARS AGO!!!!!!! It is a POOR COMMENT ON OUR STUPID MEDIA but she is having to suffer!  Of course, I found out about the stupidity and one-sidedness of our media when they said NOTHING BAD about Obama when he was running, (when there was MUCH, and they are just now admitting it) and WENT OUT TO DESTROY Sarah Palin!!!  Totally Unbelievable.

Butch Winbery

 It seems to me that we just will not allow a white woman to be succesville in this country even if we have to go back 30 years to find something besides I thought we had freedom of speech.Oh well another ammendent by the wayside.Political correctness my but.


Based on how the conversation has gone, a belated comment at best, the ‘political liberal’ isn’t.


Jane Goodman

Listen, she knew this was brewing and failed to act, just as she failed to act to protect employees in her empire who were being harassed and bullied by her gross brother. In a workplace, inaction by a boss is complicity.

They all built an empire on a pile of bad values and outdated lifestyle… Plantation life, insensitivity,sugar, butter and ignorance. And, bad PR.

ne ne

30 yr ago remark is being referred to but what about the southern plantation wedding remark?  Does she want to glorify those days?

This is just bs making a big deal out of something that was said yes ago. Really ppl just wanting to make something small into a mole hill as they say. Im pretty sure most ppl in this world has said a racial slur.  In a couple of years she will be back on top again. Just look at Martha Stewart she was in jail and now she is back on top and in stores and growing again and back on tv. So hang in their Paula this is just another media stunt and their will be some who won’t… Read more »
WAH! WAH! WAH! INJUSTICE! WAH! WAH! WAH! Another racist moron got caught being, well, racist, life goes on people, she is not sorry of what she said or how she truly feels, she is only sorry she got caught, she made millions, she is set for life and so is her family, she can have as many Southern Plantation weddings as she likes now, complete with black waiters dressed in white suits and black bow ties, and for a little extra money, she may even find a few that would say “Yezz sa Mazza, wat eva ju saee Mazza, ju… Read more »

I absolutley, 100%, agree with the other poster’s! This has been a total injustice to Paula Deen!! Wasn’t it Martin Luther King who said, “judge us not by our color but by our character”? Seems like an oxymoron at times….

I agree with the other posters.   Paula was used as a scape goat.    Who, in their right mind, would crucify anyone for doing or saying anything 30 years prior to their fame and fortune?    Paula didn’t hurt anyone.   She didn’t slander anyone.   She didn’t cause anyone injury or embarrassment.   She might have used a slang word, in her conversation in a PRIVATE CONVERSATION.    SO WHAT?   Who among us has not?   This whole thing is a grand fiasco to take some of the heat off the political goings on in the news.   Pay attention folks, it might be you or someone… Read more »

I am no longer shopping at any of the stores that have dropped Paula Dean, this was a horrible injustice done to a scapegoat and I will not support any of the companies that jumped on the band wagon to crucify this woman

NAFTA Refugee

There is no one more close minded than the open minded liberal. Paula Dean is the latest victim of Liberal Bigotry.

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