Twitter Is Slamming Paula Deen for a Joke About This Celebrity’s Death

Paula Deen is no stranger to controversy. But the drama she’s currently embroiled in might surprise even those who are familiar with her checkered past.

In a new interview, the former Food Network star made a joke about the sudden death of celebrity chef Carl Ruiz, who recently passed away at the age of 44, and people aren’t having it. They rushed to Twitter to react to her comments, criticizing the chef with the most heated tweets.

Paula Deen
Paula Deen at an event | Michael Roman/WireImage

Inside Deen’s new interview

On Sept. 23, Deen interviewed on The Big J Show, where she was asked if she knew Ruiz, who was an executive chef at La Cubana in New York and a Food Network regular.

“No, I’m not [familiar with Ruiz],” Deen said. “But I’m so sorry to hear that.”

Laughing, Deen continued, “You know, they say the restaurant business will kill ya.” 

“No pun intended,” she added before noting that the food industry is a “tough business.”

The comments come right after the 7:10 mark

People did not take the joke lightly

Almost immediately after the interview, several people flocked to Twitter to slam Deen for her remarks.

“Is it just me or does #PaulaDeen prove YET AGAIN what a HORRIBLE PERSON SHE REALLY IS.  Making fun of a deceased person is so LOW … The late #CarlRuiz deserves better and so do his family and fans,” tweeted one person.

“Paula deen always saying some sh*t,” commented another.

“How sad to see Paula Deen once again speak without thinking about Chef Carl Ruiz’s untimely death,” another person tweeted. “Apparently, she didn’t learn her lesson after losing her empire after racial slurs several years ago. Is it insensitivity or just plain ignorance? I’m thinking the latter.”

The last tweet seems to be in reference to the drama surrounding Deen’s lawsuit deposition in 2013, where she revealed that she’d used racial slurs in the past. She faced widespread backlash and subsequently lost her show on the Food Network, as well as several product deals.

Paula Deen
Paula Deen in interview | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

But some backed Deen

A few people swept to Deen’s defense, with one person tweeting that Ruiz himself would have laughed at her comments.

“@carlruiz would have laughed his a** off,” the tweet read. “The man had a sense of humor… I don’t think #pauladeen said anything wrong… Get a grip people…”

Another tweet said, “She wasn’t making fun of Ruiz’ death. She made a light-hearted comment about the industry.”

As of writing, Deen has not commented on the matter.

Other reactions to Ruiz’s death

When news broke on Sept. 22 that Ruiz had passed away, many stars in the food industry took to social media to share their condolences and best memories with the chef.

Guy Fieri, who worked with Ruiz on Guy’s Grocery Games and Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, tweeted that he was “heartbroken.”

“I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef,” he wrote.

“Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ‘The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him,” Fieri continued.

Chef Eric Greenspan also paid tribute to Ruiz on Instagram, writing that the world is “significantly worse” without him.

Food critic Troy Johnson echoed those comments, tweeting that Ruiz was an amazing person who could “make people laugh who’d forgotten how to laugh.”

As of writing, the cause of Ruiz’s death is unclear. Stay tuned for updates.