Paula Deen denies racism after release of deposition details - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

In her words: Notes from the Paula Deen video deposition

Posted: Updated:
Paula Deen Paula Deen
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Savannah celebrity chef Paula Deen is in the headlines again, this time not for her good deeds but instead comments in a deposition. A former employee suing Deen alleging racism and her lawsuit deposition leaked to national media.

Last week, following up on the latest on the lawsuit, I spent time at the Federal Courthouse in Savannah watching the video deposition and taking notes because the video was not supposed to be made public for 90 days. The only way to view it, according to lawyers and the courts, was to sit and watch it and take notes.

All three and a half hours of it.

Wednesday morning, details from the deposition splashed across the Enquirer to Entertainment Tonight, including accusations of a racist dream wedding and use of the n-word.

Did Paula Deen really say those things in the video deposition? 

"According to the new Enquirer, out now, Jackson (Lisa Jackson, former GM at Uncle Bubba's who is suing Deen and Bubba Hiers for harassment and discrimination) once asked Den what she wanted servers to wear for a plantation style wedding and she says Deen answered quote, 'what I'd really like is for a bunch of little n-words to wear long sleeve white shirts black shorts and bow ties.'"

That allegation was brought up in the video deposition WTOC watched, and Deen denied it. She said a visit to a restaurant in Tennessee with her husband Michael impressed her and represented a certain "era in American history."

"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," Deen said in the video deposition.

When the attorney questioned Deen about what era she was referring to, he seemed to lead her to say pre-civil war, which lead to the statement.

"Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.  I would say that they were slaves. But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism," Deen said.

Deen did not deny using the n-word in jokes or in anger in the past, but said it had been a long time. When asked to identify the race of the servers, she replied, "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."

The original basis of the million dollar lawsuit was not race fueled, it was harassment, discrimination and work conditions, including details of Deen's brother, Bubba, showing porn to the plaintiff, Lisa Jackson, from a work computer. 

"Anybody can come in and snoop," was Deen's response.

When asked if she knew what discrimination and sexual harassment was, Deen answered, "Coming on to a person I would think. Holding them back because of their sex. I don't know.
I think I would recognize it if I saw it."

We'll have to wait until August for the video deposition to be made public, unless it's leaked before hand. Parts of the transcript and filings, which are coming fast and furious the last week and a half, are already online or part of the public filings.

Paula Deen's attorney, Bill Franklin, released this statement in regards to the latest racism allegations: 

"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."

Attorney's for both camps tell WTOC they expect a trial date to be set any day now, with the case going to court before the end of the summer.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Paula Deen controversy

Click here to see documents related to the lawsuit against Paula Deen and her brother.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
    31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.More >>
  • Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:17 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:17:11 GMT
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX, the men describe what happened, and how they survived.More >>
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX News, the men describe what happened that day, and how they survived.More >>
  • Hundreds of mourners celebrate life of Ja-Naya Thompson

    Hundreds of mourners celebrate life of Ja-Naya Thompson

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:54:08 GMT
    As Ja-Naya Thompson's short life was celebrated, there were a lot of tears and hugs as hundreds of people paid their respects during the visitation and the funeral service.More >>
    As Ja-Naya Thompson's short life was celebrated, there were a lot of tears and hugs as hundreds of people paid their respects during the visitation and the funeral service. People told me they went to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for two reasons, to mourn the loss of five year old Ja-Naya and to show support to the parents who must now face life without their beloved child.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.