Few people might think that Paula Deen and Michael Sam have much in common, but Deen seems to think they do.
TV chef Deen lost her Food Network show
and a good many endorsement deals when an employee alleged she engaged in “violent, racist, and sexist behavior.” Sam, a University of Missouri football star, recently disclosed that he is gay and could become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
But Deen said in an interview with People
magazine that they’re very much alike, E! reports
. Here’s what she said:
I feel like “embattled” or “disgraced” will always follow my name. 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.
Twitter’s reaction to the quote was not positive. Quite a few commenters took exception to Deen’s not using Sam’s name and feeling compelled to say he’s black:
The lawsuit against Deen was dropped in August
, but the chef hasn’t made many public overtures until now. She’s promoting the launch of her new business, Paula Deen Ventures; its first project will be a $20 million Tennessee restaurant near Dollywood
. A private equity firm is offering $75 million to $100 million to get the business going.
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Also in the People interview, Deen stated that she thinks other TV celebrities who made statements similar to hers—namely “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, who said being gay is a sin on par with bestiality—were let off the hook too easily.
“It's amazing that some people are given passes and some people are crucified,” she said.