Through her lawyer, Paula Deen offered a rather tepid response to a story that could easily shut down her career as she knows it.
On reports that she finds the usage of racial epithets acceptable — particularly in the form of a joke — her attorney, Bill Franklin, told ABC News about the reports: “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.”
Yeah, they could’ve done better than that.
The story goes that Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Deen’s restaurant, is suing the celebrity chef and daughter of the south along with her brother for racial and sexual discrimination by Lisa Jackson. The Associated Press says that Jackson’s attorney asked Deen if she ever used the word ‘nigger’ to which she replied, “Yes, of course.”
So you know, if it’s not true, why not leak those depositions, Deen attorney?
For Paula’s sake, the story better not be true because the Food Network is watching.
In a statement to ABC News, the network said: “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.”
Translation: We’ll drop her ass if true.
Meanwhile, the deposition in question has leaked online … and it’s not a good look for Lady Deen:
Mr. Billips: Miss Deen, have you told racial jokes?
Paula Deen: No, not racial.
Okay. Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
Yes, of course.
Okay. In what context?
Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
Okay. And what did you say?
Well, I don’t remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple.
I didn’t — I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.
Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
Well, then, when did you use it?
Probably in telling my husband.
Okay. Have you used it since then?
I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.
Can you remember the context in which you have used the N-word?
Had it occurred with sufficient frequency that you cannot recall all of the various context in which you’ve used it?
Well, then, tell me the other context in which you’ve used the N-word?
I don’t know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.
Like a joke?
No, probably a conversation between blacks. I don’t — I don’t know.
But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the south. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior.
As well as I do.
Okay. So was Lisa ever present when you discussed with Brandon what kind of wedding you’d like to have?
I don’t recall that. I recall — I do recall, once again, in my bathroom at that house, and why we would have been in the bathroom, I was probably filming and changing clothes, that’s the only reason why we would have been in that bathroom, they must have run out during my lunch break or something from filming, and I remember us talking about the meal. And I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret.
The media might misinterpret it?
Yes, or whomever –
— is so shallow that they would read something into it.
No, they were dressed in white jackets.
And a bow tie?
And a bow tie and black trousers, and they were incredible.
Okay. And you said something –
These were men that had made their living off of service and people in a restaurant.
It was – I was so impressed.
Okay. And they were all black men?
Yes. Professional servers and waiters.
And when you described it to Miss Jackson, did you mention the race of – well, you had to have mentioned the race of the servers –
Of course I would –
—because that’s the part that –
—because that’s what we just experienced.
Right. Do you know what word you used to identify their race?
I would have used just what I just told you.
Black or African-American?
Black. I would use the word black.
I don’t usually use African-Americans.
I try to go with whatever the black race is wanting to call themselves at each given time. I try to go along with that and remember that.
Okay. And could you give me an example of how you have demonstrated for them a nice way to use the N-word?
Or a non-mean way?
We hear a lot of things in the kitchen. Things that they — that black people will say to each other. If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way.
What about jokes, if somebody is telling a joke that’s got —
It’s just what they are, they’re jokes.
Okay. Would you consider those to be using the N word in a mean way?
That’s — that’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the joke, I don’t know. I can’t — I don’t know.
They usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.
Okay, well —
I can feel out that person pretty good on what would offend them, but I’m not sure…what — what the question even means.