Celebrity chef Paula Deen recently compared herself to black and gay college football star Michael Sam.
"I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name," Deen told People magazine, according to The Wrap. "It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying.”
Deen admitted using the N-word during a court deposition in 2013. She has also been accused of demeaning her black employees by forcing them to dress like Aunt Jemima, noted RawStory.com. In her 2009 biography, Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin, Deen recalled wanting to make a "Sambo Burger" on the Food Network, which would not allow it.
Deen also told People that she feels "empathy" for "Duck Dynasty" reality star Phil Robertson, who insulted gays, blacks, "Shintos" and "Islamists" during an interview with GQ magazine last year.
“It’s amazing that some people are given passes and some people are crucified,” added Deen. ”I have new empathy for these situations, though. My dad always told me, ‘Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.’”
For its part, People magazine is doing its best to repackage the smiling Deen on its cover.