On Thursday night, “The Daily Show” joined in the Deen pile-on, suggesting the chef suffers from “Type 2 racism.”
Host John Oliver began by wondering exactly which N-word Deen uttered because, he joked, “I know it wasn’t nonfat.”
Like many, he was reluctant to believe that Deen, with her warm Southern charm, ever harbored any bigoted sentiment. Even if she had used the N-word, he argued, it doesn’t necessarily make her a racist. After all, “maybe the word just slipped out when she was rapping along to the Wu Tang Clan in some sort of innocent karaoke mishap.”
More problematic for Oliver was Deen’s idea for a plantation-themed wedding: “Everyone dressed in crisp white linen, and instead of rings the bride and groom exchange slaves. And after the reception, the Union army comes through and burns everything to the ground.”
As Oliver noted, this isn’t the first time Deen has been the subject of controversy: Last year, she was criticized for waiting three years to disclose her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, all the while peddling decadent dishes (e.g. deep-fried, bacon-wrapped macaroni and cheese) to the American public.
“I’m not surprised she was diagnosed with diabetes,” he said. “I’m surprised they didn’t rename diabetes the ‘Paula Deen syndrome.’”
Oliver was eventually joined by correspondent Jessica Williams, who urged caution because Deen "clearly suffers from Type 1 or Type 2 racism.”
As Williams explained using pitch-perfect faux-medical jargon, “Type 1 racism” is an inherited condition and "there is reason to believe that Deen’s ancestors had a strong strand of the racism gene." Cue footage of Deen on NBC’s genealogy program, “Who Do You Think You Are,” noting that her family owned "a lot" of slaves -- 35, to be exact.
“You know what else is a lot? One. One slave is a lot, Paula Deen,” Williams exclaimed, prompting boisterous applause from the audience.
“If her family owned slaves, that is pretty strong evidence that her racism is Type 1?” Oliver wondered.
Not so fast: Williams claimed it was still possible that Deen was afflicted by "Type 2 racism," an adult-onset form of the illness developed "after years of clogging your brains with pure, saturated Dixie nostalgia.”
Luckily, Williams explained, there are treatments available, including a Nicorette-like patch that helps “suppress the urge to blurt out anything offensive.” (No points for guessing what it’s called.)
The patch would allow Deen to live a long, healthy life, at least until she “chokes on a sausage fritter or drowns in a vat of butter.”
In the end, Oliver was impressed by the sympathy his colleague showed toward “someone who’s said such horrible, hurtful things.”
“Oh please,” Williams replied, “Paula Deen’s words aren’t hurting black people anywhere near as much as her recipes are.”