LOS ANGELES, Aug. 7 (UPI) —
Former Food Network star Paula Deen turned down a chance to compete on "Dancing with the Stars" in Los Angeles, UsMagazine.com reported Wednesday.
"The dance floor is not the appropriate forum for her," a source close to Deen told the magazine.
The 66-year-old, Georgia-born chef admitted in a May deposition for a lawsuit she had used the N-word in the past. That comment, and her description of a so-called plantation-style wedding she would like to see, sparked a media firestorm that prompted the Food Network to fire her.
Deen later insisted she is not a racist and said she only used the N-word to describe the black man who stuck a gun in her face while robbing the bank where she worked in 1987.
However, J.C. Penney, Walgreens, Sears and Kmart subsequently said they are moving away from their business relationships with Deen and the cable shopping channel QVC said it would "take a pause" in its dealings with her.
Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Home Depot and casino giant Caesar’s Entertainment previously said they would end their partnerships with Deen.
"We’ve seen career resurgences after the show," "Dancing with the Stars" co-host Tom Bergeron told UsMagazine.com about why Deen should re-consider competing on the series. "People go, ‘I remember why I love that person!’"
One of the show’s resident professional dancers, Cheryl Burke, echoed her support of Deen.
"Right now, lots of controversial things are happening around her and her situation, and I think coming on something light and fun would be good for her," Burke said.
Season 17 of "Dancing with the Stars" is to premiere Sept. 16.