Paula Patton's Fried Chicken Controversy, Explained

While every family has its own way of doing things, some might say there are some universal rules that are a must follow when cooking — especially when it comes to preparing chicken. This week, Paula Patton is being grilled by the internet for allegedly breaking several of those sacred creeds after a five-minute video of her preparing fried chicken went viral.

In the original video, which was first shared on March 4, Patton states that she's going to cook 16 pounds of fried chicken according to her mother's recipe. All seems fine until she starts preparing the poultry, as she's seen quickly running the wings under cold water before tossing them in plastic bags of plain, unseasoned flour.

In a separate TikTok video, athlete Ashley Spencer calls out Patton in a play-by-play, claiming that the chicken is not clean and even earnestly begging, "Where are your seasonings, Paula?!" For Spencer, it only gets more bizarre from there. Patton places the chicken directly in a pan of sizzling hot avocado oil before adding seasoning — paprika, Lawry's, and pepper — which spreads all over the pan. 

A horrified Spencer exclaims, "In the grease, Paula?! Your mama did this? You're seasoning grease!" By the time it's done cooking, the oil has tarnished to a dark brown, while the chicken she cuts into appears pink. Spencer concludes her commentary by issuing the warning — "Paula, don't eat that."

Patton claps back at critics

Per UpRoxx, it didn't take long for Patton's video to set the internet ablaze, with many on social media expressing their shock and outrage over the actor's choices in the kitchen. The video also reopened the debate on whether or not to wash chicken before cooking it.

Eventually, news of this controversy got back to Patton, who disabled comments on her original video. However, despite the negative comments she doesn't seem too bothered by critics. On Tuesday, she took to Instagram to defend her methods in a video captioned: Peace, love, and fried chicken.

"I just wanted to respond and say, listen, I get it," she said, acknowledging the criticism. "...It might look crazy. It is the way we do it. My mom taught me." Continuing, she addressed some of the concerns many people had about her preparation methods. "I do believe in washing the chicken. Maybe the way the video was edited it looks like I don't wash it long enough but I definitely do," she assured viewers.

Patton also said that while she is fine with the feedback and suggestions for how she could improve her cooking skills, she reiterated that she is loyal to the recipe her mother taught her. "We put the seasonings in the oil and all that," she declared. "It's just the way we do it."