First, a couple of preliminary thoughts about this Paula Deen thing:
- Are you prepared to have your reputation and livelihood assaulted for something you said 30 years ago?
- Paula needs to get back to her kitchen and away from all this chatter.
The Internet has changed just about everything. Lives can be turned upside down, thanks to this worldwide archive. Sometimes, its “victims” do it to themselves and get what they deserve (e.g. pictures on Facebook; videos on Youtube). But, even those who are held accountable for a failure somewhere in their distant past should learn from Paula Deen how not toreact, or, in this case, overreact.
In short, after standing up the Today Showthe first time, then offering three fairly weak takes at apology videos on www.youtube.com, and then finally appearing on Today, Paula, indeed, has overreached.
All she needed was a written statement. That’s it. Just a statement saying what she said was definitely wrong, no doubt about it. It was three decades ago, and in an honest answer during a legal deposition (where honesty is a good thing). Then, let it fade away.
But Paula has fed the beast, the Internet, which devours as it travels at light speed. As a result, the proverbial toothpaste has left the tube, squeezed and squeezed by Paula herself. So, let’s examine her latest “performance” (and, hopefully, final act in this too contrived of a drama) on the Today Show with Matt Lauer.
Paula was all emotion. She led with a statement saying, in effect, all of God’s creatures are created equal and she’s always believed that.
Matt was cold and calculating, asking what’s the real reason you’re here, money or image?
Matt prods: But you used the word, albeit 30 years ago, so then, what are your true feelings?
He keeps digging, looking for controversy, inferring that since Paula’s from the South, and considering the South’s history regarding race relations…:
Paula Deen actually did okay on Today, considering Matt Lauer’s questions. He was looking for a news scoop and didn’t get it. She was looking for absolution, and it remains to be seen if she’ll get that.
But, she didn’t need to put herself through all of this. Apologies have become a dime a dozen (Do Apologies Really Work?). They’re almost a daily occurrence and we’ve become pretty much immune to them.
Draft a statement. Release it. Stop feeding the media beast. If Paula Deen had done that, instead of continually breathing life into the story, I wonder if she would’ve lost as much as she has.