Comfort food chef Paula Deen is becoming a rather tragic figure; first she carves out a brand for herself slinging butter-laden southern delicacies, then she announces that she’s had diabetes for years and will become a paid spokesperson for a diabetes drug, and now she and her brother are being sued for sexual harassment and some racist requests that are even more colorful than her contemporary Sandra Lee’s nasty looking Kwanzaa cake.

Lisa Jackson was general manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Georgia, of which Paula and her brother Bubba Hiers are co-owners. Jackson alleges that during her 2005-2010 employment at the restaurant Hiers inundated her and the rest of the staff with pornography and misogynistic insults — for example, visiting sex websites at the job and “forgetting” to log off, asking her to bring in sexy photos of herself, and making dirty jokes about oral sex that CLUTCH is too classy to repeat (and so specific that it’s hard to believe that Ms. Jackson made them up herself just to malign him).

But the part that intrigues me are the accusations of racism, which include the claim that Hiers frequently used the n-word and that Paula Deen made an especially racist request when Jackson asked her what the attire for a 2007 event should be:

“Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n***ers 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.”

What troubles me about these alleged remarks is that they are so easy to imagine coming out of Paula Deen’s mouth and therefore she must have made them, yet they’re so easy to imagine coming out of her mouth that she probably didn’t. Not to break out the violins for white southern women, but combine Deen’s new reputation as a liar with the the persistent stereotype of white southerners all being racist and you have a very believable lawsuit targeting both Deen and Hiers. Let’s hope that Ms. Jackson gets justice for what ultimately sounds like a pretty uncomfortable work environment.

Read more here.

What do you think? Do these accusations ring true?

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    I don’t put racism past any white person. Not even the ones who done died and got to heavenly glory.

  • MIkela123

    It’s not a matter of her not being racist or prejudiced. I believe that most Southern White women harbor racist thoughts, even if they have Black friends (looking at you, Oprah.)

    But the issue is policing her words. One would think that at this point of her career and knowing how popular she is, she would be smart enough not say something so blatant. Really, using the N word so openly, Ms. Paula? tsk tsk. I guess you can take the girl of the plantation but…

  • LN

    I don’t want to believe this – but like African Mami, I don’t put racism past any white person. I hope there’s some proof.

  • Jaslene

    If this was happening why put up with it for 5 years.

  • iQgraphics

    yup

  • Chocl8child

    It’s hard to believe someone would work under such harsh conditions for 5 years…if the racism was as pervasive as stated, something should have been said sooner.

    Also, was the person making the accusations released from employment or did they leave the company on their own accord?

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    People put up with abuse for long periods of time for many reasons. Sometimes people simply need a job. Sometimes they’re afraid to confront powerful people. Sometimes they just don’t think anyone would believe them.

    But whatever the reason just because someone puts up with it for a long period doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    The person making the accusation is not black so the racism part is just to show how corrosive the environment was.

  • Kacey

    I believe it!

    I’ve often wondered about her with respect to her attitudes on race – you know: whether all that down-home southern belle-ness also included good old-fashioned southern racism. I guess now we know.

  • Chocl8child

    I also wonder why EEOC was never contacted….

  • Fioana

    Does anyone has the proof for this??Themba Ford…i think your assuming things based on your own narrow minded thoughts!Your artical is you speaking your opinion and making and it to be the truth!You dont know her but yet you are saying she said those horrible things based on her looks and were she came from!How does that sound?I can imagine that you have been judge in your life,just like me!Thats why i hate racism and discrimination and i dont judge others in the same way!Its better if you wait for the truth before jumping in to your opinion on how things went.

  • dana

    In refererence to African Miami’s comment I am s white southern woman and I’m not racist so for you to say you don’t put racism past whites is messed up if you ask me blacks are more racist then anybody listen to that crap y’all call music all you here is cracker this cracker that and and then y’all go around calling yourself niggers so what is the difference between a black person saying it and a white person. Think about before you flap your jaw!

  • dana

    *mami*

  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com Perverted Alchemist

    You do realize that you did nothing more than prove her point with what you typed? You just made yourself- as well as all White Southerners- look worse with the response that you gave. However, thanks for trying *pats you on the head*.

  • http://www.whitneyspears.com Whitney Spears

    Funny how people wait to claim they are discriminated against and try to cash in. Why not report the alleged behavior from the get? Oh no, they want to wait for the right opportunity to publicly complain so their claims appear more valid. Right on!

    ….Not

  • Tonton Michel

    I am not surprised that they were capable of doing this if true, (if you have been to Savannah, Georgia you know the deal), but I am surprised at how blatant they were.

  • dana

    Just how exactly do that pervert? I didn’t say inept thing racist I only spoke the truth.

  • dana

    Stupid phone how did I do
    that pervert

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ Dana

    and I mean EXACTLY what I said. It is what it is!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ PA

    Hey booooooo!!!! Missed ya!!!

  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com Perverted Alchemist

    Here’s why what you stated was stupid- not truth. You, like every other person from the South (and I’m saying this as a born and bred Southerner), like to turn and twist stories about one White person and make it seem like it’san attack on ALL White people. And if that wasn’t enough, then most White Southerners get into this long tirade about Black people- especially if the topic has little to nothing to do with people of color. Again, all you’re doing is making yourself look bad by going on the internet doing this. What does an accusation made towards Paula Deen have to do with you? Not a damn thing!!!!

    Futhermore, if you White Southerners want to stop being perceived as being racist, the change all starts with you. Not the media, not news channels…but you and you alone!!!! By the mere fact that you are on a magazine that’s devoted to people of color to air out your grievances says way more about you than it does the person you railed against.

  • Georgia

    If the former employee is white, as someone mentioned, than it isn’t surprising at all. People tend to assume that those like them all agree with them. They likely wouldn’t have said things like that to black employees.

  • binks

    Looking at this from another angle, my dad is a chef and he always says how racist the profession can be so he isn’t surprised if these allegations was true. And quite frankly neither am I, like African Mami said I don’t put racism pass anyone

  • IMO

    “Artical?” Oh no. You need hooked on phonics, girl.

  • Fioana

    IMO!You get what im saying right??Anyway English is not my first langauge,swedish is!

  • mamareese

    I dont’ know the grease smells fishy here…..For 5 years really? This seems very far fetched and extreme for only one report over a 5 year span. I don’t buy this at all….someone must have something to gain to take this abuse for this much time and just now say something.

  • Liza

    Some of the allegations are serious, i.e., shaking an employee. Pornography on the web? Looking at naked pictures is not illegal. However, asking someone to bring in a photo of themself as a young woman, or showing photos of women having sex at a company meeting might be. But she will have to get other employees to testify. Hard to do that in this economy when folks are afraid of losing their jobs. But being mean, crude, nasty, uncouth, low class or vulgar are not necessarily illegal. The allegations must meet the definition set down by courts as sexual harassment. Is there written proof to the personnel department, or head of the company? If not, it becomes harder to prove. I don’t believe Paula is a racist. A few years back, she had a tv special on the Lady & Sons Restaurant which featured an African-American cook who had been with her from the very beginning. No doubt she could tell a few tales of how hard Paula is to work for, but a racist? No, I don’t believe it.

  • NaShonda

    Something is off. I don’t think Paula or her brother are INCAPABLE of being racist. What I would like to know are the circumstances surrounding her leaving the job. Five years is a long time to put up with this type of behavior and with having a high profile boss it would be easy to quit and file this lawsuit some time ago. Why now? Sounds suspect.

  • roberta cooper

    I am tired of the blacks thinging they can do what they what it is free speach .You can not use the N word because thay get all up set ,yes the N word is not nice to say but as for Obama he dose need to be out of office he has not did anything he said he was going to do.I think Mrs Jackson jest wants money ,

  • Liz

    English, next time.

  • CaramelBeauty

    First of all, pornography in a restaurant, YUCK!!!!!! You will never find me eating there!!!

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