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Paula Deen: Fans serve up heaping helpings of support

The Food Network has dropped Paula Deen from her roster for admitting to making racial comments. Is this the end for the Southern food star? Fans hash it out on social media networks.

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"And, if Paula Deen is interested in helping to grow the real Food Channel into something that you all will watch, we are all ears. We want to take her apology seriously, and believe we can be part of helping her use this as a way to address such issues in the future, if she so desires. Tell her to contact us at editor@foodchannel.com. We’re getting her mail anyway."

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Kendra Nordin

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The site also published a collection of recipes called "The Best of Paula Deen," and a sampling of the letters they have received, stating that comments were "running 100 to 1 in support of Ms. Deen." Here are a few excerpts:

"Cowards! I am in the food service industry and in my area, south GA, most folks love Paula Deen, because she cooks like most of us do. For you to not renew her contract shows how big cowards you are. The accusations against her are crap, and you know it. You have bowed to the altar of political correctness and for that, you should and will suffer."

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"Thank you for sacking Paula Deen. I have enjoyed her shows immensely through the years, but there is no excuse in this day and age for racism and for those who harbor racist views. Ms. Deen had an obligation to uphold the values and integrity of the Food Channel, who caters to people of all races, religions, and genders. She had other options than to fail on that score. Instead, she self-destructed. Please do not bow to any public pressure to rescind your justified actions in dropping Paula Deen. You did the right thing. Stick to it!"

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It could be said that Deen follows in a long line of public figures who have messed up, apologized, and soldiered on in some way. Witness: Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, and Martha Stewart, to name just a few. Chef Anthony Bourdain is notorious for his bad-boy behavior in the kitchen and cutting, opinionated remarks but he continues as a fan favorite. Whether Deen's sugar-sweet legacy in gravy-heavy food will be enough for her fans to continue to support her and her Southern food empire remains to be seen.

Earlier in June, Deen signed a Paula Deen Foods partnership with the New York-based Nanco Group. "The company, with its headquarters in Savannah, will focus on selling products at a variety of locations that consumers can then prepare at home," reported the Savannah Morning News.

On The Food Channel's Facebook page, fans and non-fans continue to weigh in, showing cross-cultural responses:

"As for Paula Deen, the use of that word is not acceptable. I am black and this lady made me have the Food Channel Network as a FAV channel on comcast + become an amateur cook. We [live] in a culture of forgiveness. Question to everyone; has she offered an apology? Tiger Woods ... apologized and now its done. If the golf guys can forgive that, we can definitely forgive Paula Deen," writes Ronny Obiri.

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"She admitted and owned her mistake. She is a growing evolving human being. As Maya Angelou would say, 'When you know better, you do better.' Paula is not her past. Let others learn from her as she has learned from herself. We are all guilty of harmful thoughts towards others at some point in our lives," writes Morgan Marie.

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"While I always find her amusing, I would never actually make the food she cooks, as it is so unhealthy. I think she is a human with flaws, who speaks without thinking, and is now in hot water. I like her son Bobby, who tries to make her recipes healthy. She needs to clean up her act, concentrate on her restaurant instead of her public persona, and see what happens," writes Karen Wheeler Brown.

In a world of vast food choices, it is ultimately the fan base that will dictate whether or not Deen will continue to have some kind of media presence and if she is able to prove she has indeed begun to fry up a new chapter of reformation.  

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