NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- Paula Deen's publicist says cook Dora Charles is trying to "cash in" on the Georgia-born chef's troubles by saying Deen treated her unfairly as an employee.
Charles, who is African-American, told The New York Times Thursday the 66-year-old former television personality used racial slurs and tried to exploit her black employees for her now-canceled Food Network show.
"I'm not trying to portray that she is a bad person," Charles said. "I'm just trying to put my story out there that she didn't treat me fairly and I was her soul sister."
"Ms. Charles' 'issue' is about money, not race," Deen's representative told UsMagazine.com in a statement Friday. "She receives a salary of more than $70,000 per year, plus profit sharing and benefits. For 20 years she has been paid a fair wage for her work, but she feels she deserves even more money. She claimed to be a friend of Paula Deen's, but is now trying to cash in on the current situation."
Deen admitted in a May deposition for a lawsuit she had used the N-word in the past. That comment, and her description of a so-called plantation-style wedding she would like to see, sparked a media firestorm that prompted the Food Network to fire her.
Deen later insisted she is not a racist and said she only used the N-word to describe the black man who stuck a gun in her face while robbing the bank where she worked in 1987.
J.C. Penney, Walgreens, Sears and Kmart subsequently said they are moving away from their business relationships with Deen and the cable shopping channel QVC said it would "take a pause" in its dealings with her.
Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Home Depot and casino giant Caesar's Entertainment previously said they would end their partnerships with Deen.