DENNIS SEID: Tainted brands can, do recover

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Begging for forgiveness is a test of character, for both the person asking it and the one being asked to forgive.
Words can mean a lot. For example, “Please forgive me for the mistakes that I have made. … I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I have done.”
On the surface, those words seem genuine and sincere enough.
We are taught to forgive, if not necessarily to forget.
But if you’re Paula Deen – who made that apology you read above – there don’t seem to be enough words to appease some people.
No need to rehash what the Southern-fried chef said or did – if you don’t know what’s been happening the past couple of weeks, Google it.
It is my opinion that the use of the “n-word” is inappropriate in any sense, no matter what color you are. It has no business in anybody’s vocabulary.
Like many of you, I was born and raised in the South. I heard the n-word used and I still do. There’s the excuse that some people grew up around the word and “don’t know any better.” I don’t buy it. People do know better.
But when it comes to race-related issues, the public – and the media – can be quite unforgiving.
Witness the implosion of Deen’s business empire. Sponsors dropped her like a hot cast-iron skillet.
She said she used the n-word once, 30 years ago. And she thought about having a plantation-themed party.
Some could say Deen is guilty of blissful ignorance. Racist? That’s up to you to decide.
No doubt she has been blistered in the media, while her friends and fans have defended her.
For her critics, there has been no small amount of schadenfreude – taking pleasure in her suffering.
Then there are the supporters who have threatened to boycott the companies that dropped Deen and her brand.
In time, Deen’s brand may very well recover. She wouldn’t be the first celebrity to stumble and recover.
Remember how “tainted” Tiger Woods was a few years ago after his Thanksgiving Day incident? He’s still a star and raking in millions again.
Toyota took a beating for its unintended acceleration and recall issues a few years ago, but is back on top.
Martha Stewart spent time in jail for insider trading, yet emerged with her empire, if not her dignity, intact.
And there’s Donald Trump. The man has filed for bankruptcy three times, yet he’s still considered a business guru.
For Paula Deen, it has been a public relations disaster.
But she perhaps can take comfort in knowing the public does forgive. And forget. Or at least look the other way.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.