Paula Deen was welcomed back by fans with open arms when she made her first post-scandal appearance at the “Metro Cooking and Entertainment Show” in Houston on Sept. 14. That warm reception seems to imply that her career might not be completely dead despite her self-incriminating admission of using the N-word. That’s at least how Anthony Bourdain is reading the situation.
“There’s no question in my mind that there are people, a lot of people out there, who will pay to see Paula Deen,” the TV food personality tells E! News at the 65th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards. “She will always have an audience. I won’t be in it, but she will have an audience.”
Why does Bourdain’s opinion matter? In 2011, he famously called Deen the “worst, most dangerous person in America,” so he’s definitely not one of the former Food Network star’s biggest supporters. He says he finds it off-putting to see how well people responded to Deen’s appearance in Texas.
“Look, it’s not pretty. I’m hardly a fan. If anything, I’m a harsh critic,” Bourdain says after being asked if he feels Deen was treated unfairly. “Frankly, it was ugly to see the same people who were enabling her, kissing her ass and hugging her the day before, tearing her to shreds in the street. I don’t think anyone was covered in glory after this thing.”
After the May deposition where Deen admitted to using the N-word, everyone from the Food Network to sponsors like Target, Home Depot and Sears dropped their affiliation with Deen. The suit ended up being thrown out by a Georgia federal judge on Aug. 23.