Once the can was opened the worms spilled out and there was nothing her legal team could do to stop it. The racism scandal exploded exposing a very dark and ugly side of the popular TV star. Paula Deen, restaurant owner and cookbook author, was deposed as part of a discrimination lawsuit brought against her by one of her former restaurant managers, Lisa Jackson, who is suing for $1.2 million. In the deposition, Deen admitted using the N-word and from there, the landslide of allegations rained down with such force that the Food Network dropped her like a hot buttered potato.
“During the devastating videotaped deposition, Jackson’s Atlanta-based attorney Matthew Billips asked Deen if she’s ever used the N-word, and the TV personality said: ‘Yes, of course.’
Deen, who once worked as a bank teller, gave examples of times she used the extremely offensive term. ‘When a black man burst into the bank I was working in and put a gun to my head,’ she recalled, and also while recounting ‘a conversation between blacks.’
Asked her feelings about racial jokes, Deen candidly replied: ‘It’s just what they are – they’re jokes…most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks…I can’t determine what offends another person.’
In a startling admission, the 66-year-old star of ‘Paula’s Home Cooking’ and other Food Network shows added that she wasn’t offended when members of her family, including her tugboat captain hubby Michael Groover, told jokes that contained the N-word, ‘because it’s my husband.’
In her lawsuit, Jackson recalled helping the celebrated chef plan the 2007 wedding of her younger brother and business partner Earl “Bubba” Hiers. She says Deen wanted ‘a true southern plantation-style wedding.’
Jackson claims in her court documents that she asked Deen what type of uniforms she wanted the servers to wear, and she says Deen answered: ‘Well, what I would really like is a bunch of little ******s (N-word) to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties…you know, in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.’
During the deposition, Paula explained she got the concept for the ‘plantation wedding’ from a southern restaurant where she and her husband had dined.
‘The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie,’ she said. ‘I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America…after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War…It was not only black men, it was black women…I would say they were slaves.’” [Excerpt taken from the National Enquirer]
Deen supporters have rallied saying she’s not a racist and explain that her use of the offensive word was part of the deep south culture she grew up in, which I suppose somehow excuses it. And saying the N-word thirty years ago doesn’t make her a racist today. But the allegation of wanting a ‘plantation’ styled wedding for Bubba is a far more current assault against political correctness. Perhaps some may be willing to forgive the cultural misstep of thirty years ago, but the newer allegations repeat the same story. Without the shroud of an ignorant culture, it just smacks of simple racism.
Deen complains that she has been villainized by people who don’t know her. But I say to Deen who are you? A secreted racist but never one in public? If you want to be a racist, be a racist. Own it, claim it, it’s yours. This is America, people can be what they want to be and there’s plenty enough of it going around. But the hand that offers the ‘privilege’ of being a racist is the same hand that smites you for it. The now infamous deposition pulled the curtain back on the real Paula Deen. Praised by supporters for being candid, Deen comes off as unapologetic, as if she saw nothing wrong with what she was saying. It was not until she was caught in the firestorm of backlash and ousted from her popular TV show that she now apologizes and begs for forgiveness.
In the wake of weepy public appearances and apology videos, one has to wonder: Is Deen regretful for having said such racist tripe in the first place, or is she simply regretful for being exposed and losing her empire because of it? She should, however, take some comfort in knowing that this too shall pass, as have all other scandals that have gone before it. The butter queen may one day be able to reclaim her glory, but for now, the celebrated chef reigns as America’s most celebrated racist.
(Sources: National Enquirer, Examiner.com)
- Paula Deen’s deposition offers details (chronicle.augusta.com)
- Paula Deen Allegedly Admits To Using N-Word, Racist Jokes In Deposition (newsone.com)