Paula Deen's deposition offers details

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SAVANNAH, Ga. — On Wednesday, word broke that Savannah’s celebrity chef Paula Deen had acknowledged during questioning related to a lawsuit that she had used the “N” word sometime in the past.

It was revealed that Paula Deen admitted during questioning in a lawsuit that she had slurred blacks in the past.   FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
It was revealed that Paula Deen admitted during questioning in a lawsuit that she had slurred blacks in the past.

Federal court documents reviewed by the Savannah Morning News state that Deen admitted using the “N” word in the past but insists it was “a very long time ago.”

In her deposition, taken May 17, Deen said she used the word after a black man had held a gun to her head during a robbery at the bank where she worked at the time.

No specific time frame is mentioned, but the incident would pre-date the beginning of her rise to fame as a Southern chef and entrepreneur who became a celebrity on the Food Network and has written 14 cookbooks.

On Friday, Food Network announced it would not renew Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of June.

In the deposition, Deen denied telling racial jokes or tolerating racial harassment in her family-run enterprises.

The deposition was taken in connection with a civil suit by Lisa Jackson, a former general manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House Inc. on Whitemarsh Island, which is operated by Deen’s brother, Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers.

Jackson alleges that she was the victim of sexual harassment and a persistent pattern of racial discrimination in the workplace during her five years at Uncle Bubba’s.

Paula Deen and Hiers are named as defendants along with The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah and Hiers’ seafood house.

A distraught Deen on Friday issued video statements begging for forgiveness from everybody for what she called “the wrong that I’ve done.”

Calls to Lisa Jackson’s attorneys in Savannah and Atlanta for comment on Friday were not returned.

Earlier in the week, William Franklin Jr., Deen’s attorney, said she was looking forward to her day in court.

Her own words

The deposition Deen gave May 17, taken by Atlanta attorney Matthew Billips and filed June 17, was in preparation for trial of the Jackson case.

“Have you ever used the ‘N’ word yourself?” Billips asked.

“Yes, of course,” Deen responded, saying it happened in reference to a black man who put a gun to her head during a bank robbery where she worked.

“Have you used it since then?”

“I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.”

“Miss Deen, have you ever told racial jokes?”

“No, not racial.”

Deen went on to say the “N” word is not one she used as time passed.

“Things have changed since the ’60s in the South,” she said. “And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior.”

In another exchange, Deen discussed jokes targeting groups, conceding that “most jokes target. … They usually target, though a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know. … I can’t determine what offends another person.”

“And would you consider telling jokes, racial jokes, to be an example of using the ‘N’ word in a way that’s not mean?” Billips asked.

“No, I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t tell it. … I mean, that’s not my style.”

Later in the deposition, Deen was questioned about plans for her brother’s wedding and a restaurant she and her husband visited in “Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere.”

“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 that somebody would misinterpret.”

She told Billips she would use the word “black” to describe the race of what she called “professional black men doing a fabulous job,” adding, “I don’t usually use African-Americans.”

She went on to testify she had said, “I would love for Bubba to experience a real Southern-style wedding,” referring to the food. Deen denied using the word “n---” to describe the servers.

“Before the Civil War, those black men and women who were waiting on white people were slaves, right?” Billips asked.

“Yes, I would say that they were slaves,” she responded. “But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying I loved their look and their professionalism.”

“Is there any possibility, in your mind, that you slipped and used the word ‘n-----’?”

“No, because that’s not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job,” she responded.

When asked about racial harassment, Deen said she thought she would recognize it and said, “We don’t tolerate that.”

Fighting lawyers

Court documents reveal tensions have erupted among the lawyers in the case as well. Both sides have repeatedly asked a judge to impose sanctions on opposing counsel and other parties.

In one filing, Hiers’ attorney, Tom Withers, asked that Billips be disqualified, quoting a tweet by Billips in which he said “suing Paula Deen is a hoot.”

Withers also referred to a sexually laced tweet in which “Billips promises to symbolically undress and have sex with” Deen.

Withers contends Billips’ conduct is designed to “harass and maliciously injure Paula Deen.”

The case began with an “inflammatory letter seeking over a million dollars for forego filing a lawsuit and allow Deen ‘a chance to salvage a brand that can continue to have value,’ ” Withers’ document said.

Plaintiff’s words

In Jackson’s deposition taken Feb. 11, she recounts how Dora Childs, an employee at The Lady & Sons, told her “probably sometime in 2010” that she felt discriminated against when a white male kitchen manager was promoted over her, adding, “and that Paula made racist comments.”

Deens’ attorney, Franklin, asked Jackson: “You have never heard Paula make a racist remark, have you?”

“Not heard it,” Jackson replied.

“You have never known Paula to discriminate against a person based on gender, have you?”

“I’m not aware.”

“And you have never known Paula to sexually harass anyone, have you?”

“Not me.”

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Darby
25496
Points
Darby 06/24/13 - 12:56 am
15
0
After reading this, I want to know what the

heck is going on here, other than the fact that the Jackson woman and her lawyers look at Deen and see big bags of money.

rebellious
20656
Points
rebellious 06/24/13 - 03:01 am
16
3
What it was was

Another battle in the War on White people conducted by the left wing media. Let the feeding frenzy begin, where out of context, 30 year old actions will be put into modern day context. All in an effort (apparently successful based on the cancellation of her show by the Food Network), to castigate and ruin another white person, while the likes of Jamie Foxx (Djangho Unchained) can make comments about "killing all white people" with zero consequence or backlash.

Makes me sick to my stomach, these modern day versions of mobs lynching a career. No trial, no innocent until proven guilty, no "justice".

As an antithesis to what Michele Obama said. I am ashamed of my country's media, and the shameless jump to condemnation they take when Southerners, whites, or otherwise targeted socio-economic people and groups miss-step.

Scuse me while I go purge.

Riverman1
83470
Points
Riverman1 06/24/13 - 04:22 am
13
0
Time to Rally Behind Deen

"In one filing, Hiers’ attorney, Tom Withers, asked that Billips be disqualified, quoting a tweet by Billips in which he said “suing Paula Deen is a hoot.”

Withers also referred to a sexually laced tweet in which “Billips promises to symbolically undress and have sex with” Deen.

Withers contends Billips’ conduct is designed to “harass and maliciously injure Paula Deen.”

Talk about harassment. What in the world are these statements by the lawyer? Where is the outrage by women when these type comments are made by a lawyer during an ongoing trial?

corgimom
32145
Points
corgimom 06/24/13 - 05:17 am
4
12
This is such a

This is such a non-issue.

Must be a slow news day.

InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 06/24/13 - 05:52 am
13
3
May be a non-issue to you

May be a non-issue to you corgimom but I'm sure to Paula Deen it's a major issue. Those who respect and care about justice and see Paula Deen being railroaded here think this is more than just slow news. What would you prefer to read about....more about the Augusta Pride Day?

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 06/24/13 - 05:53 am
9
1
Let this trial happen

I so want this crap to go in front of a jury.

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 06/24/13 - 06:00 am
6
1
Does anyone know

I understand that Lisa Jackson works in the Atlanta area...does anyone know where? Post on here if you know..please.

justthefacts
21698
Points
justthefacts 06/24/13 - 07:27 am
9
0
A non-issue??

I agree, maybe the judge will throw the whole thing out and make Jackson pay court costs. Sure.

belle
305
Points
belle 06/24/13 - 08:02 am
0
0
Waiter Haters...
Unpublished

One of my fondest memories is dining in a place in St Simon's called the Plantation Supper Club. It was not fancy. It had a dirt parking lot with Valet parking. It was an old building reminiscent of an oversized shanty. The food was good, the price was not astronomical and the decor was minimal. What made this place amazing was the service. We were literally treated like royalty with a server standing nearby who watched us all for any sign that we might need something. He'd then wave someone over silently and they provided whatever you needed before you could ask. I've been in Much fancier places and spent a Lot more money but have never had service like that. I mention this because every waiter there wore a tuxedo and yes, every one was black. But that was insignificant because they earned our respect through their amazing service and in our eyes the only color we would use to describe them...Golden.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 06/24/13 - 09:06 am
0
0
all puala deen needed to do
Unpublished

all puala deen needed to do is wear some saggy jeans, get a tat, and put a baseball cap on backwards or sideways and say she was making a song because she's an aspiring rapper and she would have been ok.....

nocnoc
42411
Points
nocnoc 06/24/13 - 09:10 am
4
0
Wow, now they (lawyers) dig

Wow, now they (lawyers) dig 20 to 50 years into a persons past for former word uses and actions.

If they (lawyers) are going to be so unforgiving, it presses the bigger question? What is the the incentive for any person to change their ways, if the change is not accepted or the wording is taken out of context?

It might do everybody some good to Wiki the word and look at its history of usage. Look at the last 2 entries at the bottom. Read Arthur K. Spears & Kevin Cato WIKI quotes to better grasp the double PC standard of the use.

BTW: Spike Lee and Chris Rock have used the N-Word more than I have in my whole life and for $$$$. . Youtube them if you have doubts.

So does mean these people are racist?

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 06/24/13 - 09:12 am
6
2
Hah-----try again heh

This woman has generated MANY jobs for the state of GA...& the stupid
butts can't see what is going on..
I hope she stands tall
I hope she goes to another network
I hope the naacp gets NOTHING!
I hope J Jackson gets NOTHING!
I will call the Mayor of Atlanta today & voice my concerns over his
statements on tv...also find out if anything is happening about the lopsided
gov jobs in Atlanta going to blacks..

We have to take a stand.....enough is enough......some whites on this forum
didn't want the black fireman fired either....so some can put their race
quotes "someplace" .....else.

This is a BIG issue corgi.....it is NOT going away if I can help it!!!

augrichgal
300
Points
augrichgal 06/24/13 - 09:21 am
3
0
I personally do not use that

I personally do not use that word and I find it offensive. I do not allow my children to use it.

One thing I do not understand is why is it black songwriters, rappers can use the "n" work and it is ok? or refer to each other and it is ok?

I understand that a business owner and/or supervisor cannot discriminate. How many have quit because of this?
Has this been a problem in the past?

Possibly one has stirred the pot and blown this out of portion and the attorneys have seen $$ signs?

If she does discriminate then she will def need to pay the price.

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 06/24/13 - 10:21 am
6
1
Interesting

Paula Deen has just said on FB that she will be on tv on Wed morning...seems Matt Lauer wants her back...heeh...maybe some are getting the outrage of what happened here...the woman was trashed.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7621
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/24/13 - 10:23 am
9
0
an “inflammatory letter seeking over a million dollars for foreg

an “inflammatory letter seeking over a million dollars for forego filing a lawsuit
OK, in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Children can you say Extortion?
That's exactly what this is and always will be.

Bizkit
31244
Points
Bizkit 06/24/13 - 10:46 am
9
0
So a Grand Wizard of the KKK

So a Grand Wizard of the KKK can be forgiven still be in Congress but a women who likely did no different than the majority of whites at that time will be punished. Seems discriminatory-oh those wheels keep spinning.

Bizkit
31244
Points
Bizkit 06/24/13 - 10:55 am
6
0
Anyways the "N" word is no

Anyways the "N" word is no longer a racial slur-as blacks use it all the time. Just like "gay" no longer means happy=I know Fred would fret over "The Gay Bachelor". Semantics of words change all the time. The n word no longer pertains to any ethnic group but actions=note all ethnicities use it the same. Just like "prick" use to mean a hole made by a thorn or needle-now it is a derogatory term.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/24/13 - 11:12 am
5
4
"I will call the Mayor of
Unpublished

"I will call the Mayor of Atlanta today & voice my concerns over his
statements on tv...also find out if anything is happening about the lopsided
gov jobs in Atlanta going to blacks..
The same goes for the Atlanta airport, it is hard to find a white face working there.

sanddollar29
22
Points
sanddollar29 06/24/13 - 11:56 am
7
1
Seriously?

Jackson alleges that she was the victim of sexual harassment and a persistent pattern of racial discrimination in the workplace during her five years at Uncle Bubba’s.

Does anybody else wonder why she continued to work at Uncle Bubba's for 5 years if she was really a victim of sexual harassment and there was racial discrimination. Not me, I would've been gone the day it started. Sounds to me like Ms. Jackson is looking for an easy pay day.

Sweet son
10323
Points
Sweet son 06/24/13 - 12:27 pm
7
0
If I was Paula Deen I would just stay in Savannah and refuse to

be interviewed or asked questions about the lawsuit. The liberal media will continue to have a party at her expense. I would make a statement that would basically tell the media not to call and if anyone else wants to come to Savannah to eat and meet her that she will be there!

InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 06/24/13 - 12:28 pm
6
0
Some hang on to undesirable

Some hang on to undesirable jobs because they have family to support but I do believe after the first year or even two is plenty long enough for her to find work elsewhere. I can not find any information on this woman, whether she is supporting a family or even a photo of her regarding the lawsuit. I don't believe it occurred and yes it does appear to be all about money.

Also odd is that "two years before she filed a shocking lawsuit against Paula Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers alleging racism and sexual harassment, the former general manager of one of Deen’s restaurants sent a letter to the queen of Southern cooking praising her for having “been given opportunities that I never thought possible, all because of you and Bubba,”. "

bigj706
1175
Points
bigj706 06/24/13 - 01:44 pm
5
3
What's wrong with black faces

What's wrong with black faces in the airport? Just asking

bigj706
1175
Points
bigj706 06/24/13 - 01:48 pm
4
2
I constantly hear I'm tired

I constantly hear I'm tired of supporting people with no jobs now some who have them its a problem. Just Saying!

InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 06/24/13 - 02:41 pm
5
1
bigj706 I believe it goes

bigj706 I believe it goes back to an earlier comment someone made regarding diversity and equal job opportunity

"also find out if anything is happening about the lopsided
gov jobs in Atlanta going to blacks..
The same goes for the Atlanta airport, it is hard to find a white face working there."

I suppose they are wondering if everything has to be balanced and even, it doesn't appear to be in government or airport jobs.

Darby
25496
Points
Darby 06/24/13 - 04:13 pm
4
1
I'm fully expecting to see a

Chick-fil-A redux happening here.

Truth Matters
6745
Points
Truth Matters 06/24/13 - 04:38 pm
2
6
War on whites

If that is what is going on here then it's a civil war because I read that the lady who brought the suit against Deen's brother is also white. Now that does not make it right if the charges are bogus, but I am reading about Jamie Foxx and Michelle Obama and neither has squat to do with this case.

And just because ill-informed rappers and others use the "n" word that does not give those of us who know better to do likewise. Didn't your momma say just because Johnny jumps in the well, you shouldn't jump in their, too.

The height of altruism is doing what one knows is right and honorable regardless of what others may do. DON'T USE THE N-WORD, THE H WORD, R WORK OR THE K WORD ( and any others that you know are offensive.)

justthefacts
21698
Points
justthefacts 06/24/13 - 05:02 pm
8
0
Truth M.

I hear ya brother, but we are gonna need a bigger list because every word today seems to offend someone.

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 06/24/13 - 05:28 pm
3
1
Amen to that JTF

The only time I hear the words is when I'm sitting at a light & a car next to me has a blaring radio with vile music...

I don't think my country music is what they want to hear BUT I turned it up loud to drown out their crap.:)

seenitB4
86692
Points
seenitB4 06/24/13 - 05:40 pm
3
2
No Excuse..

And just because ill-informed rappers and others use the "n" word that does not give those of us who know better to do likewise

No words for this .....some get FIRED & others are just ill-informed..

bigj706
1175
Points
bigj706 06/24/13 - 07:15 pm
2
2
Some rapper who's rapping is

Some rapper who's rapping is my choice to listen to or not. Somebody who is my boss in a professional business there is no place for.

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