Paula Deen's son is filling the family's empty Food Network shoes while his mother continues to field the sorts of claims that got her kicked off the channel in the first place.
Bobby Deen, host of Not My Mama's Meals on Cooking Channel, apparently entered the heat of battle on Iron Chef America this week.
"I'm thinking about my brother boy this morning. He's filming an episode of Iron Chef today! #pressure," his brother Jamie Deen tweeted yesterday. The reveal prompted an outpouring of social media support for Bobby, including love from the still-chugging "We Support Paula Deen" Facebook page, which now boasts 608,000 "likes."
Deen's sons remain two of her biggest supporters, with Jamie tweeting a blast-from-the-past pic of the three of them today.
"With all the cookbook talk I thought this photo from our first book would be a fun #ThrowBackThursday. #family," he wrote.
But while food blog Eater.com has a Food Network source saying that the embattled celeb chef will be "back in a year or two, under different terms," Deen had to ward off yet more claims this week that she made racist comments to a former employee.
Dora Charles, who works at Deen's Savannah, Ga., restaurant Lady & Sons, told the New York Times that her former boss used racial slurs and once asked her to wear an old-style Aunt Jemima dress at the restaurant.
Deen's camp denied the allegations in a statement to the Times, also saying, "Fundamentally Dora's complaint is not about race but about money. It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen."
Deen "provided guidance and support through the many ups and downs of Mrs. Charles's life," the statement continued.
Charles, 59, reportedly helped open Lady & Sons and has spent years developing recipes, perfecting dishes and training other employees.
"I'm not trying to portray that she is a bad person," Charles told the Times. "I'm just trying to put my story out there that she didn't treat me fairly and I was her soul sister." She said that she used to work for $10 an hour and that Deen had once promised to take her along for the financial ride when she really made it big.
Per the Times, lawyers from Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition investigated Lady & Sons and issued a report stating, "There was evidence of systemic racial discrimination and harassment at the operations." But "there is limited evidence of direct racism or racial discrimination" by Deen.
Jackson, meanwhile, was reportedly contacted by Deen last month and agreed that she should be "reclaimed rather than destroyed" after it was revealed that she admitted in a legal deposition to having used the N-word in the past.