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

Paula Deen 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.

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.

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.

"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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