Paula Deen, the Albany, Georgia native who is best known for the southern cooking television show Paula’s Home Cooking, is brewing up some trouble: and no, I’m not referring to food! Last month, Deen was accused of making several racist comments to employees at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House and Uncle Bubba’s Shrimp, companies owned jointly by Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers.
Lisa Jackson, a former employee for Uncle Bubba’s Shrimp, filed a complaint (attorney Matthew Billups officially filed the complaint) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia last November and claimed that during her five-year long employment with the company, she was a victim of “violent, sexist, and racist behavior”. According to Jackson’s complaint, Paula Deen’s restaurant Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House is an area where “racially discriminatory attitudes pervade”. African-Americans were expected to use separate entrances and bathrooms from other white employees. As if the previous statements are not already daunting, the allegations take a turn for the worst: Jackson’s complaint also cites a flagrantly racist comment made by Deen when Jackson asked what type of uniforms the servers should wear at a special event:
“Well what I would really like is a bunch of little niggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around. Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that”
Deen denies the previous allegations, but when Bilups, Jackson’s attorney asked Deen if she used the N word in the past, the Food Network star replied unabashedly and said, “Yes, of course”.
Unfortunately, I find it extremely hard to believe that Paula Deen did not make the aforementioned comments referring to how African-Americans should dress. Even Deen admitted “that restaurant [Uncle Bubba’s] represented a certain era in America [Civil War]”. Well Paula, times have definitely changed and discriminatory comments made against African-Americans or any type of group vividly explicates the power of words and how prejudice beliefs and stereotypes still corrupt our society. Furthermore, the use of pejorative statements in order to reflect a certain era in American history is not a valid reason to use expletives!
If you would like to read the full transcript of Paula Deen’s testimony, it is available online!