Bring Back Paula Deen: Read the Deposition Transcript

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Paula Deen's Food Network career imploded last Friday after the cable network said it would not renew her contract. Though Food Network's simple statement, "Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," did not mention a reason, it comes after a video deposition turned up in which Deen admits to using the N-word and talking about a politically incorrect party she was thinking about hosting. Deen's testimony was taken in correlation with a harassment lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, the former employee of a restaurant co-owned by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers.

Now, in a surprise backlash to her corporate blockade, people are standing behind Deen in droves. A "We Support Paula Deen" Facebook page has 288,000 followers. A Change.org petition, calling on Food Network to bring back the Southern cook, has garnered more than 14,000 signatures.

I abhor racism. However, after reading the transcript of the deposition, I agree that Paula Deen has done nothing to merit being fired.

See also: Paula Deen on Today: "I Is What I Is"

The 149-page transcript indeed shows Deen admitted to using the N-word, "probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head." Does that make it right? Absolutely not. But she also goes on to say it was in a private conversation.

It's also clear that Deen is being held accountable for her brother Bubba. Over the weekend, I saw a sign in some shop that said, "Every family has a Bubba." I thought immediately of Deen -- and President Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and my family. Almost everyone has a "drunk uncle" -- someone who embarrasses you to no end. Sometimes they're criminals. Sometimes they're just idiots. Sometimes they're the product of their time.

My grandfather used to say some pretty inappropriate things and told the raunchiest jokes. He also learned Spanish to communicate with customers, invited drag queens into his store with welcome arms in the '50s (dyeing their shoes hot pink and lime green), and hired every race of people at his shoe store in Brooklyn as he watched the neighborhood change from the 1940s through the 1990s. I would cringe as I heard the banter between him and his employees. Then he would hug them at the end of the day and insist on running across the street to buy them a cheesecake at Junior's on Friday. His words were just words. They weren't meant to offend, and the people who knew him in that same neighborhood for 50 years knew that.

Read the full deposition on the next page.

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23 comments
emily138882
emily138882

Wow, you are a racist pig, just like Deen. Proud of yourself?

Canuck
Canuck

She used the N word and said she wants her brothers wedding to be in the theme of a plantation...HOW THE HELL CAN THAT BE TAKEN THE WRONG WAY. I HOPE HER GRAND KIDS FALL IN LOVE WITH BLACKS JEWS AND MUSLIMS

sussmanbern
sussmanbern

Paula Deen is getting booted for using a crude expression -- off the air, and nearly 30 years ago -- which Chris Rock has used on the air and recently.    All right, call it whatever you want; crude, backward, vulgar, even racist.  But, on the air, Paula Deen has shown none of those traits.

I've heard some really ugly insults on those celebrity chef shows, the ones where the famous chef abuses his apprentices, and nobody got their panties in a twist.

If Paula Deen is made to suffer, maybe it would be fair to have similar criteria applied to all TV cooks ... and then to other TV stars as well.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter


Now everything someone says or does is going to be interpreted as racist....enough already”

cheryncp
cheryncp

Start your own network Paula.

cfmd
cfmd

Sometimes people say things they don't really mean for no other reason than because of the heat of the moment, or for shock factor.  I have called my husband an asshole, and my siblings names like,  bitch, retard, jerk.....etc and I'm sure other things over the course of time.  I have called perfect strangers names that I don't use on a regular basis because I knew it would piss them off.  I remember one specific time while driving....a woman called me a fat, ugly honky bitch.  It wasn't the ugly, the honky or the bitch that bothered me.  It was the fat.  I went right to the same level and used a word that is not usually in my vocabulary.  Not because I am racist but because I thought it was the one word that would bother her.  They were words said at the time and forgotten when whatever was going on was over.  Name calling is name-calling.  Racism is not a word.  It is what you believe and how you act on those beliefs.  If you are mistreating people because of the color of their skin or not treating someone equally for the same reason, then you should be punished appropriately.  Using a word in fear or anger, is just not the same thing.

kayft
kayft

All this is just something dumb. I have heard I all. My grandparents would turn over in Their graves over this. Why do you have to go back 20 years. These people cALL each other the N WORD STILL TILL THIS DAY. If you want to get down to brass tacks, why do they call themselves African American. Very few came from Africa.

bluemists
bluemists

you all are so quick to join a sinking ship,  paula deen has done nothing more than any one else, she is a child of the 50's generation LOOK AT  and  remember the racial turmoil going on, the 60's wernt much better all the way to today , true the racial  turmoil is better but it still has a long long way to go, while i dont condone any one who makes racial slurs about any one, but if you READ  the whole thing its not as bad as you all want to make it out to be worse than it really is i hear the  N  word   almost every day and its coming out the mouths of  black (mostly youths who think it  is so funny  to use  that word they dont care that alot of people have have fought long and hard  and even died for the cause.   how many singers use it in almost every one of their songs but they make millions of dollars for it , they dont care there is alot of skeletons in every ones closet, so you may want to clean your closet before you go sniffing at every one elses 


amylhwilliams
amylhwilliams

You said EXACTLY what I've been saying all this time. Read the ENTIRE transcript people!!

bobstahley
bobstahley

@sussmanbern : Read the original complaint.  Read both depositions.  She's not being booted for "using a crude expression."  She's being booted because when the trial goes to court, the truth of her company's institutional racism, sexism and violence on their employees will come out and no sane entity will want to be associated with her.

runwaypooch
runwaypooch

@cheryncp  That is what she should do, if she want to continue to conduct herself in that manner... smh 

AthenasWrath
AthenasWrath

@kayft Well hello, idiot of the day. "These people"?  Here's your sign. Also, they are called African-Americans as a way to symbolize their heritage, same as Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc. al.  Keep in mind, most blacks in America, their ancestors were forced to come here for slave labor, so hearing Paula Dean admit that she would've liked to have thrown a party reminiscent of those days...yeah, I'd be pissed off too.  


margiemix
margiemix

@amylhwilliams Reading the plaintiff (Lisa Jackson's) deposition is also enlightening, although it's a long read at 250 some pages.  Ms. Jackson doesn't have a leg to stand on.  

ApollosWrath
ApollosWrath

@AthenasWrath 
And your pissing in shoes amounts to nothing more than a tantrum. So... I read the deposition from beginning to end. Tedious... like your post. No amount of "neither one of us care what the color of your skin is or what is between your legs, it's what's in your heart and in your head that matters to us" will offset your preconception about facts you are not privy to right now.

Your post is exactly what this article decries. And it is exactly why Paula decided it wasn't worth fighting for a "southern plantation" wedding because you, and people like you, seem to own what that phrase means; irregardless of the fact that black men willingly took pride in their jobs and she praised them for it. Did you read this deposition?

Read that section again.She made it clear that it's not worth fighting to appreciate beauty in style of clothes or architecture just to hear the screed of someone like AthenasWrath who wants to bring in a totally irrelevant subject. It's easy to find an AthenasWrath nowadays, the overwhelmingly ignorant of specifics to the issue at hand but free as the wind to blow off about it. You made her point for her.

bobstahley
bobstahley

@margiemix @amylhwilliams:  What depositions are you reading?

It's the Plaintiff who's asking for a jury trial!  Plaintiffs don't ask for jury trials unless they can prove their allegations.

sunnygee44
sunnygee44

That's what I have been trying to get people to do. Read the depositions, all of them. Lisa Jackson, a white woman, is just out to get money and bring anyone down that she can. She was making very good money working where she worked. Paula used  the "N" word telling her husband about having a gun put to her head during a bank robbery.  

bobstahley
bobstahley

@margiemix @bobstahley Cherry-pick much?  With all due respect, your editing of the transcript is, to put it as politely as I can, disingenuous.  There's no record of the letter in the transcript, only sentences taken out of context that you've tried to cobble together.  You omit pages and pages of testimony.

As the transcript plainly states, the letter was written at the "request" of Karl Schumacher, her senior at the enterprise, and was written during her employment,not afterward (as your "within" tries to imply).  If anything, the testimony is far more damning to Ms Deen's defense than to Ms Jackson's allegations: Schumacher's alleged reasoning for making her write the letter displays a dysfunctional workplace.

Besides, nothing in the letter (as described in the transcript)  invalidates the suit's assertions.

Suggestion:  leave lawyering to the lawyers. 

margiemix
margiemix

@bobstahley  "When I started working for Bubba he gave me an opportunity that allowed me over time a freedom I had never experienced. He allowed me for once in my life to take care of myself and for once have faith in myself as a person and as a woman to know that I could do it on my own. Since then I have become the independent woman that I have always wanted to be. I have been given opportunities that I never thought possible, all because of you and Bubba. 


You have the ability to touch people and offer hope in situations where they feel nothing but hopelessness. You have a vision to offer hope to other women, other people that are in situations like we were." ~ Lisa T. Jackson (in a letter she authored and delivered to Paula Deen within 3 months of her resignation and prior to filing a lawsuit.)

Source: Deposition of Plaintiff Lisa T. Jackson vs. Paula Deen, Enterprises - pages 184-188. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/149360282/Deposition-of-plaintiff-Lisa-T-Jackson-vs-Paula-Deen-Enterprises-etc)

emily138882
emily138882

@sunnygee44 OH my god are you DUMB. Bubba Hiers is a unmitigated pig, and Deen supported him every step of the way.

bobstahley
bobstahley

@sunnygee44:  O rly?  I guess you're not reading the same transcripts I am.  Or do you think the alleged behavior of the defendants should be condoned?

 You don't think her lawyer would have filed if the allegations couldn't be proved, do you?

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