The negative publicity surrounding Paula Deen’s recent admission that she used racial slurs doesn’t seem to have hurt her business. In fact, the annual “Paula Deen Cruise” on the Mariner of the Seas has reportedly received so much interest that the cruise is adding a second cruise next year.
The cruise line said that, in the face of Deen’s firing from the Food Network, Smithfield Pork and Caesars Entertainment, it received so many calls from fans who wanted to book trips on the Southern chef’s cruise that they decided to double the line, Fox News reports.
"Due to so many requests from Paula's fans in the past, we are actually planning two cruises for 2014 and look forward to both," an unidentified cruise representative told the news outlet. "It's always an amazing time with Paula, her family and fans. If she goes, we go."
Deen, 66, came under heavy public scrutiny last week after comments she made during a legal deposition were published online. In her testimony, given for a lawsuit that was brought forward by former employee Lisa Jackson, Deen admitted to telling racist jokes, using the N-word on at least one occasion and telling black employees that she wanted to organize a plantation-themed wedding for her brother, in which they should dress up as slaves.
Deen defended telling racially tinged jokes in her testimony, saying that she could not determine what was offensive to another person.
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The comments sparked an immediate backlash, but Deen’s supporters have rallied around her. And the cruise line isn’t the only part of Deen’s business empire that has been bolstered by the scandal. According to CNN, sales for her upcoming cookbook, "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up," have gone through the roof on Amazon in the past 48 hours. Shopping network QVC has also not severed its relationship with Deen.
Deen is still expected to appear at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. this fall. In a statement, the organization announced it had accepted Deen’s public apology and had chosen to go forward with her as a presenter.
“Paula Deen has been a friend of the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show for many years. She has apologized, and we are taking her apology at her word and moving forward accordingly,” a rep for the show told Fox. “The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show does not condone or believe in the use of derogatory slurs by anyone. This is a nation of forgiveness and second chances. In that spirit, we intend to go forward with the Metro Cooking Shows in Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C., as planned with Paula as a presenter.”
Deen canceled an appearance on the “Today” show earlier this week, at the peak of the scandal. However, she appeared on the show on Wednesday morning, offering tearful commentary to fans, friends and colleagues, the New York Times reports. In her interview with Matt Lauer, Deen defended her previous legal comments but amended her deposition statement that she had used the N-word on more than one occasion. On television, Deen said that she had only used the slur once, when recanting to her husband how she had been robbed at gunpoint in 1986.
Deen ended her interview by saying that those who had never done anything they regretted were free to criticize her: “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please.”