Paula Deen Admits Using N-Word, Telling Racist Jokes [Details]

Peaches GrantJune 19, 2013

Celebrity chef and entrepreneur Paula Deen has cooked up another mess for herself.

In a videotaped deposition, Deen has admitted openly using the N word and making racist jokes. She even confirmed that she wanted to costume black waitstaff as slaves at a wedding party she was overseeing.

“Yes, of course,” Deen replied when asked if she had used the N-word openly in a deposition.

Deen’s admission came on May 17 amid a lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, who once managed a Savannah, Ga., restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers. Jackson alleges several instances of sexual and racial workplace discrimination.

In a brief, carefully worded statement Wednesday, Deen’s lawyer defended his client without denying the reported remarks.

“Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable,” Bill Franklin of the Savannah law firm Oliver Maner wrote. “She is looking forward to her day in court.”

Huffington Post got ahold of the transcript of the deposition. Check out a few of the excerpts below.

On Deen using the N-word:

Lawyer: Have you ever used the N-word yourself? Deen: Yes, of course.Lawyer: Okay. In what context? Deen: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.

Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say? Deen: Well, I don’t remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple … I didn’t — I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.

Lawyer: Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face? Deen: Absolutely not.

Lawyer: Well, then, when did you use it? Deen: Probably in telling my husband.

Lawyer: Okay. Have you used it since then? Deen: I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.

Lawyer: Can you remember the context in which you have used the N-word? Deen: No.

Lawyer: Has it occurred with sufficient frequency that you cannot recall all of the various context in which you’ve used it? Deen: No, no.

Lawyer: Well, then tell me the other context in which you’ve used the N-word? Deen: I don’t know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.

Lawyer: Like a joke? Deen: No, probably a conversation between blacks. I don’t — I don’t know. But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the south. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.

On telling jokes that target African Americans, Jews, gays and other groups:

Lawyer: What about jokes, if somebody is telling a joke that’s got —

Deen: It’s just what they are, they’re jokes.Lawyer: Okay. Would you consider those to be using the N word in a mean way?

Deen: That’s — that’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the jokes, I don’t know. I can’t — I don’t know.

Lawyer: Okay.

Deen: They usually target, though a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.

Deen, host of Paula’s Home Cooking and other shows on Food Network, has become one of the most controversial figures on reality TV. Read the entire transcript over at Huffington Post.

Photos via USA Today,  and


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