Entertainment » Celebrities

Paula Deen: I Feel Like Michael Sam

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Feb 27, 2014
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Paula Deen
Paula Deen  (Source:AP Photo/Carlo Allegri)

Disgraced celebrity cook and butter queen Paula Deen, who was shunned from the public eye last year after admitting to using racial slurs in the past, gave an interview with People magazine this week and said she feels like Michael Sam, the All-American football star who made headlines earlier this month for coming out and is poised to be the first out National Football League player.

In the interview Deen compares her struggles to Sam’s, who was hit with major criticism by NFL officials for being himself and having the courage to come out to the world. The New York Times also detailed Sam’s rough childhood and reported on Sam’s father’s struggles with learning his son is gay.

"I feel like ’embattled’ or ’disgraced’ will always follow my name," Deen, 67, said (via the Wrap Up). "It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He said, ’I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying. I’m fighting to get my name back."

OK Paula! Whatever you say! But maybe your journey is a bit different from what Sam had to deal with and the obstacles he faced with being gay.

This is one of the first interviews the Southern cook has given since coming under fire last summer for admitting to using racial slurs in a deposition, which was leaked to the press and caused her butter empire to melt around her. The Food Network cancelled her show and a number of companies dropped her, including Wal-Mart and QVC, Fox reports.

"When I woke up each morning, it was like my world was crashing down again," she told People.

Despite her setbacks, Deen received a $75 million investment from a private equity firm for her new company, Paula Deen Ventures. The Associated Press reported this week that she will be opening up a $20 million restaurant next to Dollywood.

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