Lisa Jackson, the woman whose allegations against Paula Deen and her brother have toppled the celebrity cook's butter-worshiping empire, has finally opened up to the media in a statement to the "Today" show.
Jackson, who is white, said that her "lawsuit has never been about the n-word." Rather, it was "to address Ms. Deen’s patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior.”
I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of [Deen's brother] Mr. Hier’s despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about discrimination in the workplace. In part, in this circumstance, I have to be a voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs.
Jackson worked as a manager at Deen's restaurants in Savannah, Ga., for five years, during which time, she says, Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers committed various forms of workplace discrimination -- including habitual use of racial slurs. Jackson has also charged Hiers with assault and sexual harassment.
Earlier Tuesday, Deen's legal team argued that Jackson could not have experienced racial discrimination alleged in the suit because she is a white woman.