This past June, things heated up fast in the kitchen of celebrity cook, Paula Deen, as Food Network arranged plans to discontinue her contract after her involvement in a ‘racist’ scandal.
Some of the elements to the crisis included the racial discrimination lawsuit against Deen and her brother from a former employee as well as other acknowledgements of Deen’s participation with derogatory remarks and slang.
As described by Matt Wilson, “specifically, the suit alleges one incident in which Deen supposedly described her dream ‘Southern plantation wedding’ using racial slurs and remarking about how she wanted black waiters to ‘tap dance around” like in the “Shirley Temple days'”.
Deen soon made attempts to resolve the crisis by releasing multiple ‘apology’ YouTube videos. Within one video, Deen states, “Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is or what gender a person is, it’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us”.
The Food Network reacted with image control management tactics as well and released the following acerbic statement to the press:
“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month”.
The Food Network is known for having made Deen a star in 2002 and 2008 with two hit cooking shows for which she became known for loving to cook with butter.
A few months later, things have ‘cooled off’ and Deen is now rebuilding her image by introducing her new cooking show on EQUAL.
This crisis is an excellent example of the need for a PR plan to rebuild and refocus one’s public image. Both Deen and The Food Network would benefit from utilizing a PR strategy.
Can you think of any other examples that need PR crisis management plans? Please comment down below with your thoughts.
For more information, the full story is available here.