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Paula Deen Admits to Racist Remarks [VIDEO]

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First Posted: Jun 21, 2013 09:24 AM EDT
Deen
Deen is best known for her delicious concoctions in the kitchen and cheery personality, but is there a darker side to the celebrity chef? (Photo : flickr.com/HumongoNationphotogallery)

Is celebrity chef Paula Deen a racist? A former manager who worked for Deen at her restaurants in Savannah, Ga. says that she is, and has filed a lawsuit against Deen and her brother that alleges both racial and sexual harassment.

The plaintiff, Lisa T. Jackson, claims that Dean and Bubba Hier committed numerous violent acts, engaged in discrimination, and used racial slurs while around her. Jackson claims that it was those actions that caused her to quit her job at Deen's Lady & Sons and Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House eateries after five years of employment.

"[Deen] was born 60 years ago when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today," said a statement issued by Deen's company in an attempt to excuse her actions.

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At a deposition of Deen held by Jackson's lawyer, the chef was asked about her history of language about people of other races. When asked if she had ever made racial jokes, Deen replied in the negative. When she was asked if she had ever used the n-word, however, Deen responded, "Yes, of course."

"But that's just not a word that we use as time has gone on," Deen said, clarifying her remark. "Things have changed since the '60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do."

Her admission to using that word has stirred quite a bit of controversy ever since the news first went viral on the internet this week. The cable television channel she works with, the Food Network, was quick to distance itself from any of the impending public backlash aimed at Deen.

"Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion," said a Food Network spokeswoman. "We will continue to monitor the situation."

The civil lawsuit against Deen and Hier was first filed in March 2012 in Chatham County Superior Court, but was transferred to a federal court a few months later. So far, both Deen and Hier have admitted to no wrongdoing in the case.

"Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable," said Deen's attorney William Franklin in a statement. "She is looking forward to her day in court."


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