Actress Stacey Dash, NFL player Kris Jenkins and civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton are among the black notables who have come forward in support of embattled tv chef Paula Deen.
Deen, 66, was dropped by the Food Network on Friday after Deen readily admitted she used racial slurs and cracked racist jokes about black people in a videotaped deposition.
Two other Deen sponsors, QVC and Smithfield Foods, are quietly shelving the celebrity chef while they await the outcome of a million-dollar sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Deen’s brother, Bubba Hiers, by a former employee.
“A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago,” Sharpton told gossip website TMZ. “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”
In a tweet sent out from her Twitter account on Monday, Stacey Dash wrote: “God does everything for a reason. “@Paula_Deen Only God can judge your heart BTW my daughter loves your show (only way she can get me to cook)”
And Kris Jenkins, former all-pro defensive tackle for the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers, also spoke out in support of Deen.
“The lady was a sweetheart to me; [her] making a mistake I’m not going to be the one to make a big deal of it,” said Jenkins in an interview with Metro New York.
Jenkins continued: “I got to see her heart and for me, I don’t look at the ‘N word’ as a bad word like that in this year—in 2013. The reason is because I think the ‘N word’ is more a test of my inner strength as to how strong am I to even be bothered by the word or not.”