Being fired over saying an offensive word without knowing anything about the context in which it was used is absurd.
With that being said, the Food Network probably added about 5 years to the lives of millions of people with this move.
But in Deen's case the context was known in at least one instance because she provided the context of recounting her encounter with a black robber to her husband.
Lawyer: Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
Deen: Yes, of course.
Lawyer: Okay. In what context?
Deen: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say?
Deen: Well, I don't remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple ... I didn't -- I didn't feel real favorable towards him.
Lawyer: Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
Deen: Absolutely not.
Lawyer: Well, then, when did you use it?
Deen: Probably in telling my husband.
And, it was during a deposition in a lawsuit that claims that her and her brother, Bubba Deen, discriminated against blacks in the workplace, amongst other things, and made racially derogatory statements regularly.
Now, more employees are coming forward with allegations that back up the woman who's suing.