Dora Charles speaks out about Paula Deen

Image via The New York Times

As the dust begins to settle around the Paula Deen controversy and the folks at Food Network considering bringing her back to their network “in a year or two, under different circumstances,” one of the celebrity chef’s closes associates is speaking out.

Dora Charles, one of Deen’s trusted cooks and self-described “soul sister,” shared her story with the New York Times and it paints another damming picture of the once loved chef.

Charles, who worked with Deen for many years, said the former Food Network star used racial slurs, asked Charles’ cousin Ineata Jones to make hoecakes (a cornmeal pancake) dressed in “an old-style Aunt Jemima outfit,’ and paid her subpar wages although Deen said she would be “devastated” if she ever lost Charles.

COPY CODE SNIPPET

Check out an excerpt from The New York Times:

Mrs. Charles spent years making less than $10 an hour, even after Ms. Deen became a Food Network star. And there were tough moments. She said Ms. Deen used racial slurs. Once she wanted Mrs. Charles to ring a dinner bell in front of the restaurant, hollering for people to come and get it.

“I said, ‘I’m not ringing no bell,’ ” Mrs. Charles said. “That’s a symbol to me of what we used to do back in the day.”

For a black woman in Savannah with a ninth-grade education, though, it was good steady work. And Ms. Deen, she said, held out the promise that together, they might get rich one day.

Now, Ms. Deen, 66, is fighting empire-crushing accusations of racism, and Mrs. Charles, 59 and nursing a bad shoulder, lives in an aging trailer home on the outskirts of Savannah.

“It’s just time that everybody knows that Paula Deen don’t treat me the way they think she treat me,” she said.

Charles claims Deen promised to take care of her if she worked hard and help the celebrity chef build her empire, but Deen’s assurances never came to fruition.

Deen’s attorney issued a statement denying Charles’ claims, saying the former employee just wants to cash in on the controversy: “Fundamentally Dora’s complaint is not about race but about money. It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen. “

Charles and three other employees filed a complaint against Deen with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the Times, around that time Jamie Deen, Paula’s son, offered Charles a salary of $71,000 a year and told her to contribute to the newly created company retirement fund.

Charles says she stayed with Deen because she needed the money, but also because she didn’t have any other support.

Despite their differences, Charles says Paula will always be her friend, even from a distance.

She told the Times: “I still have to be her friend if I’m God’s child,” she said. “I might feed her with a long-handled spoon, but, yeah, I’m still her friend.”

Tags: , ,
Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • SoulFood

    Everything that Paula Deen cooks probably have been taught by Black Folks. When I grew up in the South, white folks could barely boil water so when I see these white folks on TV talking about “cornbread, collard greens, pototal salad, candied yams and all those those other dishes it was nobody on the face of this earth other than Black folks who taught them how to cook.

  • dirtychai

    Can’t get too close to’em. They will use your talent to make a caricature out of you.

  • RaiseTheBar

    “…and paid her subpar wages although Deen said she would be ‘devastated’ if she ever lost Charles.”

    Of course she would be “devastated” (economically) the same way her great-granddaddy was devastated when he had “30 somethin’ people”(slaves) on the books one year and 0 the next year causing great-granddaddy to commit suicide.

    So, pd does know how to censor her racist/slave-owner language when it came to downplaying the fact her great granddaddy was a Slave-owner.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Charles and three other employees filed a complaint against Deen with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the Times, around that time Jamie Deen, Paula’s son, offered Charles a salary of $71,000 a year and told her to contribute to the newly created company retirement fund.”

    Around that time? What does that mean? Was the salary offer made before or after she filed her complaint?

    pd’s son’s salary offer rings out the word, “LIE / Liar” like that dinner bell pd wanted Ms. Charles to ring.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Despite their differences, Charles says Paula will always be her friend, even from a distance.

    She told the Times: ‘I still have to be her friend if I’m God’s child,’ she said. ‘I might feed her with a long-handled spoon, but, yeah, I’m still her friend.’ ”

    PLEASE, ALL of US EVOLVE past the “religious” brainwashing b*ll sh*t that tells US your “God”/ My Creator holds US any less dear for speaking the truth that ANYONE who is so blatantly disrespectful to us is NO “friend” to us; and, NO you don’t have to be her “friend” which doesn’t automatically make you her “enemy”, it just puts an end to the exploitation of your talents and loyalty.

    • Nakia

      Agree with all of this….and to this:

      “PLEASE, ALL of US EVOLVE past the “religious” brainwashing b*ll sh*t that tells US your “God”/ My Creator holds US any less dear ”

      I wanted to slap the “HELL” out of that juror when she said that Zimmerman got away with murder but would not escape God. Glad folks are still turning cheeks and depending on the afterlife for justice!