Paula Deen Sued for Racism and Sexual Harassment

Former employee Lisa Jackson claims the celebrity chef and her brother used offensive and discriminatory language.

Posted: 03/12/2012 11:15 AM EDT
lawsuit, Paula Deen, sexual misconduct, racism, sexism, sexual assault, assault, discrimination

Cooking fire isn’t the only heat Paula Deen has been facing recently. The celebrity chef is under fire for allegedly using the N-word, sexually harassing and inflicting assault and emotional distress on her employees, according to a recent lawsuit filed by a former employee. This comes after Deen recently received a wave of criticism for concealing her Type 2 diabetes while advocating the use of excessive butter and sugar in her recipes.

 

The lawsuit, filed by Lisa Jackson, a former general manager at Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Ga., documents patterns of racism and sexism displayed by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers.

In one alleged incident, Jackson states she asked Deen what servers should wear after being appointed to handle catering and staff for Hiers’ wedding in 2007. Deen responded, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n-----s 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.”

Jackson became the general manager of Uncle Bubba’s Oyster and Seafood House, which is co-owned by Deen and Hiers, after the previous general manager was fired for having sexual relations with the servers. In six months, she turned the restaurant from a failure into a success, she says, but in the process she claims she was sexually harassed by Deen’s brother, including requests from him to bring pornographic pictures of herself for him to view.

In another incident outlined in the lawsuit, Jackson alleges Hiers stated that President Obama should be sent to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico so he could “n----r-rig it." He also allegedly printed out photos of women having sex with each other with a caption reading, “Why Gay Marriage Should Be Legal.”

In 2010, after five years of working at the restaurant, Jackson alleges she left because management did nothing about her complaints of sexual harassment, among other concerns.

Deen’s representatives say that Jackson has made baseless, inflammatory allegations and that everything will be proven false in court.

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(Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

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