Paula Deen Defends Past Use of the N-Word

Celebrity News Jun. 20, 2013 AT 3:20PM
Paula Deen explains to Us Weekly why she once used the n-word, saying she "was born 60 years ago" in the South but "does not condone" racial epithets. Paula Deen explains to Us Weekly why she once used the n-word, saying she "was born 60 years ago" in the South but "does not condone" racial epithets. Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty

Paula Deen wants to clear a few things up. The Food Network star, 66, is speaking out -- via her company -- about a newly filed deposition in which she admitted to saying the racial slur "n-gger" years earlier. On Wednesday, June 19, the butter-loving chef's legal team released a statement saying that Deen "does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable." The following day, Paula Deen Enterprises gave Us Weekly a follow-up statement.

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"During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today," the statement said. "She 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."

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The statement continued, "To be clear, Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."

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Deen admitted to using the word "n-gger" during a May 17 deposition connected to a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by her former employee, Lisa Jackson, who once managed Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House; the restaurant is owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers.

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When Jackson's attorney asked Deen if she had ever used the n-word, the Paula's Best Dishes host replied, "Yes, of course." According to the report, Deen then added, "It's been a very long time."

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