Paula Deen steps in it . . .
. . . again.
Let's get the inflammatory quote out of the way first: Yes, disgraced greasy spoon Paula Deen, who was fired by the Food Network after admitting she'd used the nastiest of racial epithets, did say this week she feels "like that black football player."
As part of her aggressive comeback campaign, funded in part by a $75 million-plus investment by Najafi Cos., Deen gave a speech Sunday at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Florida.
She reiterated her apologies for her previous sins and declared that she's back in the game. In a subsequent chat with People, Deen said she's sad her name forever will be twinned with the words embattled and disgraced.
"It's like that black football player who recently came out," said Deen, referring to NFL hopeful Michael Sam. "He said: 'I just want to be known as a football player. I don't want to be known as a gay football player.' I know exactly what he's saying," she said. Does Deen's use of an African American gay man to bolster her claim she's a victim make you want to scream?
'Girls' girl to wed
Girls star Allison Williams, child of newsman Brian Williams, 25, is engaged to Ricky Van Veen, founder of the College Humor website, says People.
Stream the Oscars live!
In a historic first, ABC will offer a live stream of Sunday's Oscars through its subscription WATCH ABC site and smartphone app available to registered cable subscribers. Sign-up info is at WATCHABC.com. Video snippets also will be posted free at www.oscars.org.
Tidbits 'n' pieces
Hours after news broke she'd dumped John Mayer, Katy Perry tweeted that she helped deliver an unnamed friend's baby right in the new mum's living room. . . . Jay Leno (this guy who used to be on TV or something) doesn't want us to forget him just yet: He made a surprise visit to his pal of 35 years Arsenio Hall and the latter's syndicated talk show Wednesday to announce that CBS Television Distribution has renewed Hall's show for another season.
Spike Lee on gentrification
New York film auteur Spike Lee, who grew up in Ft. Greene in Brooklyn, delivered an expletive-laced diatribe against gentrification Tuesday at a Black History Month lecture at Pratt Institute.
"Why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Brown Heights, for the facilities to get better?" he asked the assembled students and dignitaries. Why indeed?
Lee tells CNN's Anderson Cooper he feels passionately about the city and its values - especially its commitment to maintain affordable housing for the working poor. The city, he said, lets down residents of poor areas while offering sterling city services to wealthier areas.
(The Associated Press, of course, added an obligatory factual note that, at least for some readers, would undermine Lee's critique. It noted that Lee, 56, lives in a $32 million townhouse on the Upper East Side.)
Burke's 'DWTS' crushes
Gabshow host Bethenny Frankel does not mess around.
In a chat this week with Dancing with the Stars' Cheryl Burke, B-Frank asked, "So in 18 seasons how many of the men did have you fool around with?" Nice!
Seems Ms. Burke isn't one to tango-'n'-tell, wink-wink.
"I've had crushes," said Burke, a two-time DWTS champ who will return for the show's next installment March 17.
"When you have two single people dancing together and you're constantly dry-humping each other, obviously, sparks fly, but it's just for [an] in the moment thing because when the show is all said and done I go my way, that person goes his way."
Hm ... vivid imagery.
Burke, 29, whose dad is of Irish and Russian descent and whose mother is a Filipina, did say she does not like to date several dudes at a time. She even revealed she's kinda going steady with one feller, though she wouldn't name him.
"I am dating one person and then every other day it's like I don't know," she said.
Wonder if Josh Hopkins would be pleased to hear that. Unnamed Source tells People the 43-year-old Cougar Town star is the fella in question.