But some of Deen's most passionate fans weren't so conciliatory, bombarding the Food Network's Facebook page with angry messages about the network's decision to drop the 66-year-old Georgia native.
"You hypocritical sobs," Facebook user Dick Jackson wrote on the Food Network's post about a "summer salad showdown." "Everybody in the south over 60 used the n word at some time or the other in the past."
"Shame on you Food Network," wrote Martha Dunning.
Racial slurs are not OK, but your judgment and your decision to not renew Paula's contract at the end of the month is a bad move. You will loose many viewers including me and anyone I can convince not to watch.
Patti White wrote:
This will be my last post as I will be unfollowing Food Network. I have watched for years. Love Paula Deen and for all the good she has done you treat her like that. I bet everyone of you have things in your closet that you should reexamine. I hope Food Network channel goes down the drain. We support and love you Paula Deen you are an inspiration to all. Wherever you go we will follow you.
Deen's supporters have called on the cooking channel to take her back. A Facebook page called "We support Paula Deen" has more than 260,000 likes and a Change.org petition has more than 9,000 signatures.
"Paula Deen is a sweet southern lady that made a mistake 26 years ago," the petition reads. "She should not be punished for something that happened that long ago and which she has apologized for."
Other Facebook commenters, however, praised the Food Network's for taking a decisive stand against racism.
"Thank you for cancelling Paula Deen's contract," Erick Smithwick wrote.
You absolutely did the right thing and I support your decision 100%. She is remorseful because she got caught and her half-hearted apology quelled only those who seem to marginalize her behavior! I respect your network now more than ever for taking swift action to distance yourself from Ms. Deen.
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