Columbus viewers react to Paula Deen scandal

Columbus viewers react to Paula Deen scandal
Published: Jun. 24, 2013 at 10:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2013 at 8:54 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - America's once beloved Southern chef lost her contract with the Food Network, and Paula Deen was also dropped by Smithfield Foods, the global pork producer. Home shopping corporation QVC is even thinking about dropping Paula Deen as well.

Paula Deen admitted last week that she used to tolerate racial jokes and use the N-word. This incident caused a huge stir nationwide, and many people even vowed to never use or buy Paula Deen's cooking books again.

It seemed as if no other cookbook author could beat Paula Deen and her cooking books for years now. So, what will happen to the sales of her cooking books in Columbus?

News Leader 9 met with Constance Surratt, a senior sales associate in The Book House. The local bookstore employee said many customers purchased Paula Deen's cooking books frequently; and Surratt still believes that the Southern chef's cookbooks will continue to sell fairly well.

"She's pretty popular, we sell her books every now and then," Surratt explained. "The racial slurs and comments she made are unacceptable, but it happened so long ago. 20 years is a long time, and she has probably changed over the years. She might have a different outlook on life and people and everything else. I don't think this incident will affect the sales of her cookbooks in our store at all. I mean, this trouble doesn't change her cooking style though."

Other residents of Columbus had different opinions. Latasha Carrigan, a Columbus State University student, said she is still a big fan of Paula Deen. She used to watch her shows to learn more about cooking. However, Carrigan said that she would have a hard time purchasing Paula Deen's cooking books anymore.

"Even though I love her, I probably will not look into her recipe books anymore," Latasha Carrigan said. "I don't know if I can support her as much as I did before. There are consequences for what you do. I mean, I know it happened 20 something years ago, and I know I've forgiven her as well. But it's hard to look at her the same way."

Another resident, Janta Marshall, said she supports Paula Deen, regardless of the racial slurs she made years ago. Marshall works as the food nutrition manager for Columbus High School, and she says it is easy to lose patience and self-control in a stressful environment.

"I have been in the food and beverage industry for 25 years. I do not think that many people understand the level of stress the workers from this business receive. The stress causes you to say things you do not really mean, and I do not think Paula Deen is a racist for saying the N-Word," Marshall added. "I mean, I cannot tolerate the fact that she made racial slurs. I think that's quite disrespectful, and I don't appreciate what she said. But she's just a person, and I think the media has blown this way out of proportion. Paula Deen did a great job on the Food Network, and she should get it back."

Many of News Leader 9's Facebook followers also agreed that Paula Deen deserves to get her job back, since she apologized and admitted her fault.

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