Celebrity chef Paula Deen denies she’s ever told racial jokes, but she did acknowledge using the “N” word, according to her deposition in a lawsuit.
A former manager at Deen’s restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, is suing her and her brother for sexual and racial harassment.
LIsa T. Jackson’s lawsuit alleges that Deen and Bubba Hier committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at Deen’s Lady & Sons and Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House eateries in Savannah.
Deen’s lawyer called the allegations false.
“Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable,” her lawyer, Bill Franklin said. “She is looking forward to her day in court.”
Deen was questioned by Jackson’s lawyers in May and the deposition was just filed with the court.
- Jackson lawyer: “Miss Deen, have you told racial jokes?”
- Deen: “No, not racial.”
- Jackson lawyer: “Have you ever used the ‘N’ word yourself?”
- Deen: “Yes, of course.”
Deen testified that she probably used the racial slur when talking to her husband about “when a Black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.”
“I didn’t feel real favorable towards him,” she said, referring to the robber.
- Jackson lawyer: “Have you used it since then?”
- Deen: “I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.”
Deen said should couldn’t remember other contexts in which she used the slur, but “maybe in repeating something that was said to me.”
“But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on,” she said. “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.”
CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.
Alan Duke | CNN