I hate to break it to you, Paula Deen, but you need to do a butter job of a-paula-gizing. The former Food Network star appears in People this week, where she finally gets the chance to say what we’ve been waiting to hear her say: that she’s a victim. Wait, what?
Her interview starts off on a good note, at least. Deen admits that her casual use of the N-word was a mistake, and she tries to make it clear that her racism stemmed more from ignorance and carelessness than from hate:
Some people said I never apologized. If anyone did not hear me, I want to apologize. I would never ever hurt anyone intentionally. Never!
Okay. Not the world’s greatest repentance speech, but at least she’s admitting fault and making some effort to reassure the people she hurt that she wasn’t actively trying to dehumanize them. If Deen had left her interview at that, she probably could have faded off into obscurity and carried on with her life. Unfortunately, though, the rest of the article centers around how she was hurt by the criticism she received:
When I woke up each morning, it was like my world was crashing down again. … It’s amazing that some people are given passes and some people are crucified. I have new empathy for these situations, though.
Yikes. While I agree that it’s messed up (and likely sexist) that women are usually vilified for their mistakes when stars like Alec Baldwin have been let off the hook a thousand times, Deen is acting like her punishment– being written off as a racist– doesn’t fit the crime of, um, being a racist. She was “crucified?” I’m pretty sure being held accountable for your hurtful actions isn’t the same as being publicly tortured.
It gets worse, too. According to Deen,
I’m fighting to get my name back. … I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying.
Excuse me for a second. I need to go punch a wall.
Getting in trouble for using hate speech is literally nothing like getting unwanted attention for your sexual orientation. Michael Sam didn’t choose to be gay, and anyone who has anything cruel to say about his personal life is a moron. Paula Deen chose to throw around a word that has historically been used as a weapon against a subjugated group of people. She is not a victim. Being famous and respected isn’t a right, and nobody is required to blindly support her just because she has a decent grits recipe. Come on.
Via E! / Photo: Getty images