Celebrity chef Paula Deen claims she’s not a racist, but the The Food Network made the right decision by quickly dumping Deen for hateful racial remarks about African Americans.
Deen is accused of using the N-word as part of a $1.2 million harassment lawsuit brought by a white former employee, Lisa Jackson, who alleges Deen routinely exposed her to sexual harassment and racist slurs, including a party-planning meeting during which Deen reportedly said:
“What I would really like is a bunch of little n******s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties. Now, that would be a true Southern wedding, wouldn’t it?”
It sounds pretty racist to me, although Deen, a self-described Southern-style cook, released an apologetic video last week asking her fans to show her some mercy and explaining that she’s not a racist person.
But during the course of the deposition, Deen, 66, said that “of course” she had used the N-word to describe black people — but stressed that it had been long ago. Jackson said Deen frequently cracked racist jokes in Deen’s restautant, Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Ga.
“It’s just what they are — they’re jokes … most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks … gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say,” Deen said. “I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
As I listened to Deen’s tired explanation for using the N-word, I wondered what Oprah Winfrey thought of Deen’s racist remarks.
Oprah and sidekick Gayle King visited Deen’s house last year, dined in her home, played on Deen’s backyard swing and kicked it with Deen during an exclusive interview on Oprah’s OWN network.
I wasn’t alone.
“Oprah, believe it or not, is the first person I thought about when I heard this statement,” Wendy Williams, the outspoken talk show host, told Entertainment Tonight. “I said ‘I wonder if her black friend Oprah knows about this statement?’ I wonder if Oprah’s been privy in person to hear Paula use this and if she’s ever talked to Paula about it… I’m done with Paula Deen.”
“This is something that has been swirling around about Paula Deen for longer than this story,” Williams said. “It’s just a shame to hear that she has admitted in her deposition that she uses the word and that she freely throws around racist jokes.”
“She seems to think that it’s OK. It’s not OK. It just goes to show you money doesn’t buy you class, it only exposes who you really are,” she added. “Stupid is as stupid does.”