Updated: Friday, June 21, at 6:10 p.m EST.
After two days of public backlash over revelations of celebrity chef Paula Deen’s tolerance for racism and use of racial epithets, the 66-year-old released three apology videos on Friday afternoon. Following her first video’s release and subsequent removal from her YouTube channel, the Food Network announced it would not be renewing Deen’s contract at the end of the month.
The first, 46-second video features a flush-faced Deen asking for forgiveness. “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable,” she said. “I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners – I beg for your forgiveness.” The brief apology features several jump cuts, lacks any explanation for her “hurtful language” and fails to detail which mistakes she regrets.
While she still didn’t get into the details of her wrongdoing, the second video revealed a more composed Deen reiterating her apology. “Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me” she said. “It’s whats in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that.”
Deen’s much-anticipated trilogy follows her no-show on this morning’s Today Show, which promised an exclusive interview by Matt Lauer and possibly a hearty bowl of apology soup. But citing exhaustion, the queen of southern comfort cooking canceled, and instead released a third apology video directed at Matt Lauer.
The public scrutiny of Deen’s behavior began Wednesday, when initial reports revealed statements she made during a deposition for a discrimination and sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by her former employee. The fried-food loving chef allegedly admitted to using racial epithets and making racist jokes, as well as proposing the idea of a “really Southern plantation wedding” for her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers (who the lawsuit is also against), which would have involved black waitstaff portraying the role of antebellum slaves. On Thursday Deen’s lawyer issued a brief apology, ”Contrary to media reports. Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.”
While Deen’s apologetic tone seemed genuine, the lack of specifics undercut her message. For once, it seems the Southern chef could use a little more butter.
*This post has been updated to include The Food Network’s announcement regarding Paula Deen’s contract and Deen’s release of two more apology videos.