Did Paula Deen Kill the Food Network?

In addition to pretty much murdering her career then sticking it in a blender and puréeing it, then pouring it down the garbage disposal — or something — it looks like Paula Deen may have taken down an entire network with her totally gross racist remarks. According to a gossip item from Naughty But Nice Rob, Deen's racism scandal may have hurt Food Network's viewership, probably due to the fact that the network pretty promptly (and rightfully!) canceled her show when the scandal broke.

From the site:

Deen, 66, was fired from the network in June after a lawsuit revealed that the celebrity chef used racial slurs. The firing caused her angry fans to boycott the network for their decision. The fans seem to be winning big time as their viewership has tanked, drastically.

The item goes on to point out that between late June and October, ratings for the Food Network were down substantially from this same time in 2012, and that the audience in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic — the only demo that networks really care about, in other words — saw viewership decrease a total of 13 percent during primetime, and 10.3 percent during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m..

Of course, it's also possible that this is all a coincidence, and Deen's departure has nothing to do with the network's ailing ratings. But then it wouldn't be a particularly noteworthy or gossip-y story, and so here we are. It's actually not all that crazy to think people would really boycott the network for firing Deen, considering the amount of people who threatened to boycott Walmart when they stopped carrying her products, and the fact that she received a standing ovation during her first post-scandal appearance at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining show in Houston last month...