Paula Deen admitted to using racial slurs during a videotaped deposition on Friday, May 17, according to Radar Online. The butter-loving celebrity chef, 66, was questioned for a reported three hours. When contacted by Us Weekly on Wednesday, June 19, Deen's lawyers, Bill Franklin and Oliver Maner, issued this statement: "Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court."
The Georgia native is being sued for $1.2 million by her Savannah restaurant's former general manager, Lisa Jackson, who claims the Food Network star made derogatory marks about African Americans. In her March 2012 lawsuit, Jackson alleged that during one conversation, Deen's brother and business partner, Bubba Hiers, said "they should send President Obama to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico so he could n-gger rig it."
In her lawsuit, Jackson also reportedly said Deen appointed her to oversee the catering and staff for Hier's 2007 wedding. When she asked Deen what the servers should wear, the Emmy winner allegedly replied, "Well, what I would really like is a bunch of little n-ggers 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. Now, that would be a true Southern wedding, wouldn't it? But we can't do that because the media would be on me about that."
In her May 17 deposition, Jackson's Atlanta-based attorney asked Deen if she'd ever used the n-word. "Yes, of course," the Paula's Best Dishes host replied. When asked about racial jokes, Deen said, "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." Deen denied telling racial jokes herself.
Deen was also questioned about what she allegedly told Jackson prior to Hier's wedding. The cookbook author claimed she got the idea to outfit her African American staffers in long-sleeve white shirts, black shirts and black bow ties from another restaurant she had visited with her husband.
"The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie," Deen recalled. "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."
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