Paula Deen makes first public appearance in Houston since scandal

Paula Deen returned to the spotlight in Houston Saturday, and became emotional after getting a standing ovation.
September 14, 2013 9:53:42 PM PDT
Southern chef Paula Deen has been out of the public light since she became mired in controversy after admitting she used racial slurs in the past. On Saturday, she was back in the spotlight here in Houston.

It's hard to imagine a friendlier crowd for Deen's long-awaited appearance. Tickets were up to $400, so it's no surprise she was received so well. But some wonder if Deen was insensitive.

Dean got a standing ovation as she took the stage at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertainment Show at Reliant. It was her first public appearance in three months.

Both she and her sons refused interviews.

"I've said all along that the only place that I'd want to make my first step back out was Texas," Deen told the crowd.

Back in June, Deen admitted to using a racial slur several years ago. A racial discrimination lawsuit against her was filed and then thrown out. In response, Deen lost many high profile endorsements and her popular Food Network cooking show.

On Saturday, Deen didn't apologize.

"As you all know, unless you've been under a rock, I had a little rough patch this summer," she said.

Her audience of about 1,500 cheered and laughed as she joked around. But outside the cooking show, some call Deen's behavior offensive, coming too soon after the racial controversy.

"You can't afford to remain insensitive to the history of our nation, so let's just say I'm not a fan," said Rodney Reynolds of Houston.

"I don't think it's something she should be joking about," added Maria-Paula Munoz of Houston

Deen will be at the same show next weekend in Dallas.

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