Daytime talk show host Steve Harvey doesn't "give a damn" — he's making Paula Deen a culinary mentor to young black men who attend his National Mentoring Camps.
It isn't a course on "just desserts," with plenty of Deen's favorite ingredient, butter — but more like rehabilitation.
At least that's how Harvey sees it: "Paula and her team has agreed to take as many boys as I want to fly down to Savannah and teach them culinary skills," he told his studio audience in an episode to air Thursday. "That, to me, is how you get something from something. There has to be a good behind everything ... I just know the good in her, and it outweighs the bad in a landslide."
Harvey is offering Deen "redemption." Redemption after she lost her career at the Food Network and as America's fun-loving food personality, repercussions for a slew of racist incidents, including unapologetically using the N-word, and allegedly enforcing bathroom segregation among her staff members.
For her part, Deen told Harvey she "thinks" she "understands" what she did wrong, and she knew that "people expected more" of her.
Forgive us if we're not completely convinced.
At least Deen has stopped positioning herself as the victim, even admitting to Matt Lauer on the Today Show last month that her "words hurt people."
"Words are so powerful. They can hurt, they can make people happy," she told Lauer. "Well, my words hurt people. They disappointed people, frankly I disappointed myself. For that, I'm so sorry for the hurt, I caused people because it went deep. People lost their jobs, it went deep into corporate America.
"I'm here to make people happy, not to bring sadness."
Image Credit: YouTube
Criticism has been in abundance following word of the Harvey-Deen venture, with perhaps the most pointed being offered by Yesha Callahan in a piece for the Root. Harvey's camp is specifically targeted toward fatherless boys and young men in order to teach them "principles of manhood and introduce them to positive male role models," Callahan notes, and raises the question how exactly Deen fulfills that objective.
This maneuver, conveniently revealed on television, would seem to position the needs of Deen, not to mention Harvey's daytime ratings, over those of these young men. Callahan continues, "So you're telling me the Neelys, G. Garvin, Carla Hall and the countless other black chefs weren't available? Of all people to choose, you go for a so-called reformed racist?"