Accidental Racist? Paula Deen says she used slur but doesn’t tolerate hate

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“Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable,” he said in a statement.

Attorneys for Jackson did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment.

The civil lawsuit was filed in March 2012 in Chatham County Superior Court and was transferred to federal court a few months later. Deen and Hiers have both denied the allegations made by Jackson, who is White.

“Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is” or what gender a person is, Deen said in her deposition. “It’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us.”

Known for her sometimes ribald sense of humor as well as her high-calorie Southern recipes, Deen acknowledged in her deposition to sometimes telling jokes. She seemed to struggle when asked if she considered jokes using the N-word to be “mean.”

“That’s kind of hard,” Deen said. “Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, Black folks. … 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.”

Jackson’s attorney, Matthew Billips, also pressed Deen to explain whether she had once suggested that all Black waiters be hired for her brother’s 2007 wedding.

Deen said she once mentioned the idea to her personal assistant and Jackson but immediately dismissed it. Deen said she had been inspired by an upscale Southern restaurant she and her husband had visited in another state.

“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,” Deen said. “And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid that someone would misinterpret (it).”

Asked if she used the N-word to describe those waiters, Deen replied: “No, because that’s not what these men were. They were professional Black men doing a fabulous job.”

 

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