Earlier this year, the Food Network faced an uncomfortable controversy when it fired TV chef Paula Deen—a onetime beloved presence on the channel for her down-home Southern cooking style—over Deen's use of racial slurs in the past. On last night's Watch What Happens Live, a viewer wanted to know what one of the network's other major stars, Rachael Ray, thought of how the Food Network handled the situation.
Ray wisely chose her words very carefully.
"You know, Food Network loves Paula Deen and I think that they were really caught between a hot pan and a hard place there," she says.
Ultimately, though, Ray opted to avoid talking about the specifics of the controversy and suggested that the Food Network and Deen might make like Teresa and Joe on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and find a way to bury the hatchet. (The Giudices are facing a trial next year for fraud; they pleaded not guilty.)
"I think that the Food Network loves the fact that Paula's been a part of their family forever, and that her family continues to cook on," Ray adds. "And I believe that one day the whole family will make up as all good families do."
Watch Rachael Ray weigh in on the Paula Deen controversy and tell us in the comments: do you think Deen will ever be welcomed back to the Food Network?