Paula Deen's Lawyer Cites Same-Sex Marriage Ruling to Throw Out Lawsuit

Celebrity News Jul. 2, 2013 AT 1:30PM
Paula Deen Paula Deen Credit: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Last week's biggest headlines concerned Paula Deen's stunning fall from grace and the equally stunning overturning of same-sex marriage bans DOMA and Proposition 8. And now, both very different stories are intertwining, thanks to a new, surprising argument made by Deen's attorney in the ongoing discrimination lawsuit filed by the celeb chef's former restaurant manager, Lisa Jackson.

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Among a slew of other shocking accusations regarding Deen and brother Bubba Hier's conduct, Jackson revealed that Deen, 66, used the "N-word" -- which Deen famously admitted to on the stand during a May deposition. As reported by CNN, the former Food Network star's lawyer argues that, because Jackson is white and not African-American, she could not have suffered "a personal and tangible harm" from Deen's use of the hurtful slur -- and thus has no legal standing in the case. The attorney, William Franklin, argued in Savannah on Monday July 1 that the U.S. Supreme Court  rejected an appeal of California's Proposition 8 law -- because those filing the appeal similarly did not have "standing" in the fight, and would not be peronsaly harmed by the legalization of same-sex unions.

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Jackson rejected this argument -- and addressed the huge backlash against Deen -- in a statement to CNN Monday. "This lawsuit has never been about the N-word," she said. "It is to address Ms. Deen's patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior," said the former Lady and Son's employee.

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"I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of Mr. Hier's despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about all races, and that is why I feel it is important to be the voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs."

While Deen has submitted numerous apologies for the "N-word" admission -- including a tearful appearance on the Today Show last Wednesday -- she has been dropped by Food Network and lost major endorsements with Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Ballantine Books, Sears, Kmart, Targe, Home Depot, and Diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk.

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