Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal Paula Deen and her husband ride in the Rose Parade. A recent lawsuit alleges Deen has regularly used racial slurs on the job in her Savannah, Ga., restaurant. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo
Celebrity chef Paula Deen admitted to using the N-word and a spread of insensitive racial jokes during a May 17 deposition.
Deen, 66, said she used the N-word and wanted black waiters to dress and act as slaves at a wedding party she was planning. She was questioned for three hours during a hearing for a $1.2 million lawsuit filed in 2012.
The lawsuit covers the claims of Lisa Jackson, former general manager of Deen's Savannah restaurant. Jackson said that Deen used the N-word habitually. The suit also alleges sexual harassment, infliction of distress and assault by Deen's brother, Bubba Hiers.
In court, Jackson's attorney asked Deen whether she used the N-word.
"Yes, of course," Deen responded. She followed with examples of their use, and defended the types of racist jokes she told.
“It’s just what they are -- they’re jokes," Deen said. "Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks…I can’t determine what offends another person.”
Deen said she didn't think the slave costumes were offensive, either, as they were part of a Civil War-themed event. She got the idea from a restaurant she and her husband visited.
At the restaurant, “The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie," she said.
“I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America… after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War."
"It was not only black men, it was black women… I would say they were slaves.”
The Food Network has not responded to the allegations, and there is no word as to whether it will affect her $17 million culinary empire.
A source said that the claims were just the tip of the iceberg. If the allegations are true, she will really have to butter up her fans if she wants to maintain her following.
A video was taken of the deposition, but it has not yet been released.