After seeing Paula Deen's interview with Matt Lauer on Today, I felt sorry for her. But I also wondered if she is a clueless as she came off in the interview.
(An aside, first, about Matt Lauer's interview. He really seemed to wimp out, either because he likes Paula Deen or because he's trying to repair his own image, which has been hurt by his supposed treatment of his former co-anchor Ann Curry. It was a strange interview.)
When I first heard about Deen's problem, I thought, well she's just being honest that she has used the N-word many years ago in a specific situation. I don't know the details of the court case, so I don't know if a former ermployee is accusing her of racism or simply of abusive behavior as a boss. And if, in fact, there is a proven history of real racism by Deen, then I'll just take back the rest of my comments here.
But from what little I've heard and seen, it looks like Deen got caught in situation and didn't handle it well. And some media often seem to do what they can to make celebrities look bad and to take them down. This sort of scandal makes for good gossip, which sells papers and gets people to tune in. Her silence for a few days allowed the media feeding frenzy to take control and dictate the story.
I don't blame her various corporate partners and sponsors for walking away. What company or brand wants to be associated with someone being labeled a racist? It's bad for business. I do think, though, that QVC handled it well by saying they were taking a hiatus, while leaving the door open possibly for a renewed relationship with Deen once she gets her issues resolved.
It will be interesting to see how Deen's newly-hired PR advisor guides her through the mess. And if she really is not a racist, honesty should be the best way to handle this, rather than spinning stories and trying to lay blame elsewhere.