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The Food Channel is Open to Talks with Paula Deen

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – A southwest Missouri company that has mistakenly received thousands of messages from people complaining about the hits being taken by Paula Deen since the cooking maven admitted to using a racial slur wants Deen to know that it would like to work with her.

The thousands of complaints being sent to The Food Channel, which is based in Springfield, are apparently intended for the similarly named Food Network, which announced last week it would not renew Deen’s contract after she admitted using a racial slur. Deen, who has apologized and said she isn’t a racist, has also been dropped as a celebrity endorser by Smithfield Foods.

“We’ve been getting your emails. Your phone calls. We’re pretty sure the good old-fashioned mail will soon follow. We get that you are mad about her contract not being renewed. The problem is, you are calling and writing the wrong people,” the Springfield-based Food Channel posted on its website last week in an effort to let people know it’s not the Food Network.

The post on The Food Channel’s website also excerpted some of the angry emails the company has received since the Food Network announced its plans to drop Deen. One read, in part: “LEAVE HER ALONE HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST IT ?? WAKE UP.”

The Food Channel produces cooking-themed content and has a show called “90 Seconds in the Kitchen,” which is shown on TV in some markets, including Springfield, The Springfield News-Leader reported.

The Food Channel website also includes a letter from the company to Deen telling her The Food Channel has been hearing from her fans and would welcome her.

“Bottom line is these loyal fans you’ve created don’t want you to go away. They want to continue to see you, and they are being pretty innovative in how that can happen,” The Food Channel letter says. “We imagine you are working through your options right now, and that you’ve heard from a lot of people suggesting you bring your fan base with you to The Food Channel. We’re here if you want to talk.”

Kay Logsdon, editor-in-chief of The Food Channel, said the move to welcome Deen “sort of happened organically.”

“People were going, ‘Why don’t you take her on?'” Logsdon said.

She said the company has also heard from people complaining about The Food Network’s decision to reach out to Deen, but says the comments in support of Deen are far more numerous. Logsdon said while it may be a long shot, the company wants to offer Deen a chance “to get back to the food” and that Deen would have the chance to “shape a fledgling network.”

“Based on what we know, the remarks that she said happened 25 years ago,” Logsdon said. “That doesn’t mean that it was right then or it’s right now, but she has apologized. America is a very forgiving nation.”

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