Just over a year after being fired from the Food Network over admissions to using racial slurs in the past, emails between Paula Deen and her brother Bubba Deen have uncovered some very interesting facts. Directly following accusations from one of her former restaurant managers, Lisa T. Jackson, that she was the victim of discrimination, sexual and physical harassment, Deen exchanged emails with her brother saying “This whole thing is so silly, I should just tell them I used to say the N-word a lot, that will get the liberal media putting the word out all over the place about me. No press is bad press, right?”
In the e-mails, Deen discusses some new twists on her butter-based recipes with her brother as well as laments about vacation homes she hopes to one day purchase. Bubba advises his sister to consider the overall cost of losing her Food Network Contract in the event that the story gets out of control. “You know how the media twists the things you say to get ratings,” he told her during the exchange.
No more mention of the idea appears in the e-mail correspondence. Deen later made the admission to using the ‘n-word’ in a videotaped deposition which eventually led to her legal team settling out of court for an undisclosed amount with the plaintiff.
The E-mails were discovered by a computer programmer that had purchased the laptop second-hand online from one of Deen’s assistants. When attempting to reformat the computer, the programmer noticed a cache of email files and quickly discovered the e-mails were from Deen. He reportedly sold the emails to the Associated Press, who verified their authenticity.
WSAV in Savannah, GA, was reportedly one of the news outlets that picked up the story, but quickly rescinded after Deen’s Restaurant threatened to pull a large advertising contract they held with the company.
The ‘publicity stunt’ may have cost Deen nearly $10 million dollars, but freed her from her contract with The Food Network, where despite reportedly being paid $50,000 per episode in 2008, Deen was ‘miserable.’
Deen and Paula Deen Ventures CEO Steven Nanula wasted no time in developing and preparing to launch an entirely new Paul Deen Network online. Paula Deen Ventures has received a nearly $100 million dollar investment from Jahm Najafi, CEO of Najafi Cos. and owner of the Book of the Month Club and BMG Music Service.
In the end, it seems that Deen’s stunt worked, paying out over 10-fold what she’d have made during the same time period on the Food Network.