The 'Paula's Best Dishes' star pulls the 'I am from the South' card to defend the racial slur she admitted to using in the past.
Paula Deen addresses controversy boiling over her admission to using racial slur, which was caught on camera during a court deposition in connection with a lawsuit filed by her former employee. In her defense, her PR team says she is not racist. She only used the N-word a long time ago because she's from the South and raised during the time when people were separated due to their skin color.
"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. 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."
The statement from Paula Deen Enterprises concludes, "To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone not condone any form or racism or discrimination."
Deen and her brother Earl "Bubba" Hiers are sued by Lisa T. Jackson, who allegedly quit working at their Lady & Sons and Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House due to hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs. In the deposition last month, Deen admitted to using N-word but insisted it was a word she and her family no longer used.
The star of Food Network's "Paula's Best Dishes" also confessed to a lawyer questioning her that she once wanted to hire black people and dress them in white shirts and bowtie to be servers at "a really southern plantation wedding" she's planning. She, however, dismissed the idea out of fear that people would misinterpret it.
Backlashes were flooding her way as soon as transcript of the court deposition leaked on the internet. Many mocked her by sending sarcastic suggestions for her next recipe, like "separate but equal light and dark meat," with hashtag #PaulasBestDishes attached to it.
Food Network hasn't decided whether to cut their ties with Deen or continue working with her. The network still airs her cooking program, but a spokesperson says, "The Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation."