Paula Deen is once again trying to defend herself. After her employee, Dora Charles, told the New York Times on July 25 that the Food Network chef treated her unfairly and failed to live up to her promises of wealth in exchange for loyalty, the embattled Southern chef's rep is firing back in response to Charles' claims.
In a statement to Us Weekly, a spokesperson for Deen explained, "Ms. Charles' 'issue' is about money, not race. She receives a salary of more than $70,000 per year, plus profit sharing and benefits. For 20 years she has been paid a fair wage for her work, but she feels she deserves even more money. She claimed to be a friend of Paula Deen's but is now trying to cash in on the current situation."
In the article, Charles, who is African-American, alleged that Deen, 66, used racial slurs and tried to exploit her black employees for show. "I'm not trying to portray that she is a bad person," she said. "I'm just trying to put my story out there that she didn't treat me fairly and I was her soul sister."
Charles' latest comments follow weeks of controversy surrounding the chef. Since it was revealed in June that Deen had admitted in a deposition to using the N-word in the past, she was fired by Food Network and Smithfield Foods, and was dropped by a slew of endorsement deals.
On Wednesday, June 26, Deen first attempted to clear her name on the TODAY show. "If there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back -- if you're out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me," she said through sobs. "Please, I want to meet you...I is what I is, and I'm not changing."