Paula Deen, who apparently said some terrible things about black people in a lawsuit deposition, has responded to the widespread outrage that followed after the news broke. And basically, she's hoping that her age and her southern heritage will make her fans pretend that all this never happened. Here's a statement released Thursday from her legal team, via ABC:
“During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today...She was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today...To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination.”
Deen, in case you forgot, underwent a deposition related to an employment discrimination lawsuit. During it, she answered a question about whether she's used the N-word with "Yes, of course...It’s just what they are — they’re jokes... most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks... I can’t determine what offends another person."
Maybe Deen, 66, has put her N-word uttering days behind her, at least after entering the world of celebrity. Except, according to the deposition, there's the other part of Deen's tone-deaf take on how to be a not racist person living in the present: in 2007, she fantasized about hiring an all-black staff to for what she admits to characterizing as a “really southern plantation wedding." While Deen has denied saying the content of the specific accusation in the suit, including that Deen used the N-word to describe the men, she did describe a scenario that doesn't sound much better:
“I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive...The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid that somebody would misinterpret.”
Based on the deposition, it looks like Deen at the very least carries some nostalgia for a segregated America. And even though the chef would like us all to forget about this, it looks like the Food Network might not: they're "continu[ing] to monitor the situation."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.