Don't count Paula Deen out just yet, y'all. The embattled Southern chef has landed a $75 million investment deal less than a year after a racial slur scandal threatened to ruin her career, CNN Money reports.
Deen is partnering with investor Najafi Media on a new company, Paula Deen Ventures, which will include her restaurants, cookbooks, cookware, and cruises, among other things. In a statement about the project, Najafi Media founder and CEO Jahm Najafi told CNN he has "a deep respect for the hard work, unique content, and quality products which Paula has built around her brand."
The news comes several months after the former Food Network star's involvement in a racial discrimination lawsuit from an ex-employee, which resulted in her being dropped by sponsors including JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Smithfield Foods. The case was ultimately dropped, but not until after Deen's career had taken several hits.
After the suit was dropped, the Georgia-born chef said she was looking forward to getting back to doing what she loved. "While this has been a difficult time for both my family and myself, I am pleased that the judge dismissed the race claims and I am looking forward to getting this behind me, now that the remaining claims have been resolved," Deen told Us Weekly via a statement from her spokesperson.
She continued: "During this time my faith has strengthened me and the tremendous outpouring of support as well as prayers from folks of all walks of life has been both humbling and overwhelming. I am confident that those who truly know how I live my life know that I believe in kindness and fairness for everyone. Moving forward, my team and I working to review the workplace environment issues that were raised in this matter and to retool all of my business operations."
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