Paula Deen has had a rollercoaster week after being fired from her hit show on the Food Network on the heels of a lawsuit filed against her by a former employee, saying she used the N-word and displayed racist and sexist behavior at the workplace. Smithfield Foods is the latest to cut ties with the celebrity chef.
Paula Deen has appeared in not one, but two videos uploaded to YouTube in which she apologizes for her behavior and asks anyone offended by it to forgive her. Coming to her defense is Aaron McCargo Jr, the chef who won Season 4 of "The Next Food Network Star", saying she's been nothing but a friend to him throughout his career.
McCargo Jr., who is African-American, took to his Facebook page to send out a message to Paula Deen.
"Paula has always been very helpful and supportive throughout my career, and as her friend I'm saddened to see that she is going through a tough time right now."
He goes on to say that "we are all human and we should never be quick to judge anyone."
"As my fans, I'm asking that you give her the benefit of the doubt as she goes through this difficult patch. Paula is in my thoughts and prayers. Much love - AMJ," he wrote.
Dean, 66, was questioned last month in a discrimination lawsuit in which she admitted to having used racial slurs in the past, but insisted she and her family do not tolerate prejudice, according to the Associated Press.
Deen has built an empire from her television shows, cookbooks and product endorsements. The Food Network began airing "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2002 and added "Paula's Best Dishes" in 2008.
Aaron asked his fans to give Paula the benefit of the doubt, and added, "We are all human and we should never be too quick to judge anyone."