Bill Maher Defends Paula Deen After Food Network Firing

Melissa Stusinski

Paula Deen found an unlikely defender in the form of Bill Maher, who stated on Friday night's Real Time that Deen's firing could have been "a shakedown."

Deen apologized this week for occasionally "using the N-word" and commenting that she wanted a "Southern plantation style wedding" for her brother.

Maher defended Deen, saying, "This may have been a shakedown. People may have been trying to shake her down, that happens all the time, so I'm not sure what the original charge is. But she did admit to using the n-word, so the Food Network cut her off."

After rehashing the events that led to Paula Deen's contract ending with the Food Network, Maher asked his guests, "If you're 66 years old, and you were raised in Georgia, and you were a child before the civil rights movement, do you get a bit of a pass?"

Guest Bob Hebbert, who is black and sat directly next to Maher, immediately responded with a resound no. But despite the opposition sitting next to him, Maher continued to defend Deen.

The host argued that Food Network's choice to fire Deen was an instance of the outrage economy claiming another victim. He added, "I also think that people shouldn't have to lose their shows and go away when they do something bad."

While he defended Paula Deen, Bill Maher did admit that the southern chef did something reprehensible. But at the same time, Maher added that firing Deen wasn't the right way to resolve the situation.

After a few days of PR, Food Network announced on Friday that it would not renew Paula's contract. Maher also added of the N-word, "It's just a word, it's a wrong word, she's wrong to use it. But do we always have to make people go away?"

His guest, Hebbert, argued that we do, especially if the word is "the N-word." He added, "It's a free country, she has the right to say that word. It's not illegal to say that word. But her boss said, 'you've gotta go it you're gonna use that word.' "

Are you surprised to see Bill Maher defend Paula Deen?

[Image via Angela George]