Carl Ruiz fans are angry with Paula Deen after she made an offputting joke about the late Food Network chef during a radio show on Monday following Ruiz's sudden death on Saturday. Deen, 72, appeared on The Big J Show with DJ Jason "Big J" Harris on Hot 101.9 in Billings, Montana, where Harris asked Deen if she was was close with Ruiz.
"No, I'm not, but I'm so sorry to hear that," Deen said in audio published by Radar Online. Instead of moving on, she attempted to lighten the mood with a joke fans are calling tasteless. "You know, they say the restaurant business will kill you," she said with a laugh. "No pun intended."
Fans took to social media to slam the Paula's Home Cooking star.
@GuyFieri is there a specific reason @Paula_Deen would make this joke about #CarlRuiz on the radio “You know, they say the restaurant business will kill ya,” she said before cackling and adding, “No pun intended.” Glad she is not at @FoodNetwork— jw (@burgundylue) September 24, 2019
Sick joke. Sick answer.— lisekane (@lisekane2) September 24, 2019
Paula deen always saying some shit— kiwi (@kiahnaaleah) September 24, 2019
Ruiz, who opened La Cubana NYC restaurant in Manhattan's meatpacking district in June, died from a suspected heart attack. His death was announced by several of his friends, including Food Network star Guy Fieri.
"I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone," Fieri wrote. "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. 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."
She's trash— Trish Tess (@TrishTess) September 24, 2019
Social media personality Matt Farah also paid tribute to the chef. "Though I only knew Carl for 2 short years, he was my consigliere, my sounding board, my 'am I crazy?' Test, and a ride or die friend," Farah wrote. "Carl was down for anything, at any time. "Every single time we hung out, three things happened: Carl taught me something unbelievably interesting, Carl introduced me to someone very interesting, and Carl made me laugh my f– face off. At our wedding, he was basically a character from Wedding Crashers, but invited. He was a goddamn rock star."
Photo credit: Aaron Davidson / Stringer / Getty