Following widespread criticism, former Food Network star Paula Deen quickly removed a tweet she posted Tuesday showing herself dressed as Lucy Ricardo from "I Love Lucy" and her son Bobby in brownface as Lucy's Cuban husband, Ricky Ricardo.
Proclaiming one of Ricky's most memorable lines -- "Lucyyyyyyy! You got a lot of esplainin' to do!" -- the "Transformation Tuesday" tweet did remain on her Facebook page of behind-the-scenes photos from a 2011 episode of her Food Network show "Paula's Best Dishes."
"No, Paula and Bobby. YOU have some 'esplainin' to do. Brownface is never okay," tweeted one person in response. Wrote another, "If your fun idea starts with 'tribute to classic TV!' and ends with 'brownface!' then it's not a fun idea."
Another commenter tweeted, "Hey Paula Deen, brownface is just as offensive as making someone dress up as Aunt Jemima," a reference to a claim by Deen's longtime chief cook, Dora Charles, in The New York Times in 2013, saying Deen had wanted another cook to dress like the well-known advertising mascot, a Southern-plantation "mammy." Deen denied the claim.
Some commenters were bewildered, with one writing, "You HAVE to wonder whether Paula Deen TRULY JUST DOESN'T know any better. Sheesh," and a fellow tweeter replying, "Seriously. And if she doesn't, is there not one single person on her staff to say 'Uh. Maybe don't do that . . . Not one?!" And some were simply snarky: "I didn't know Paula Deen had a Latino son. Oh, wait . . ."
Deen's spokesman did not return a Newsday request for comment.
The 68-year-old restaurateur, cookbook author and TV personality was dropped by Food Network and many of her sponsors and partners following revelations in a 2013 deposition that she had used racial slurs years earlier. The ensuing controversy devastated her reputation, and in June 2014, she told Matt Lauer on "Today" that while she now understood the criticisms, "I have to say it took me a while because I was confused as to the length of time [involved], since those words had been part of a language. I had a hard time understanding, because it had been 30 years."