Originally published on Squid Ink, LA Weekly’s food blog. For original, please refer to: Paula Deen’s Guilt-Free Admission of Using N-Word, Hiring ‘Slave’ Waiters – Squid Ink.
Paula Deen has found the one problem that can’t be solved with butter, y’all. And that problem is her casual racism when planning wedding parties.
As reported first by the National Enquirer (and picked up just about everywhere else), the celebrity chef and patron saint of all things deep-fried gave a deposition in which she is quoted as saying “of course” she has used the N-word (so blasé!). She also reportedly said of racist jokes, “I can’t determine what offends another person.”
But perhaps the most shocking portion of the 2011 Rose Parade Grand Marshal’s three-hour depo was in reference to her brother Bubba Hiers’s wedding — “Bubba” being a nickname for Earl, because in the South, Bubba is a nickname for everything.
At Bubba’s wedding, Deen hired a waitstaff of all middle-aged black men in white suits and black bowties. Deen said she was inspired by a restaurant she had previously visited.
“I mean, it was really impressive,” Deen is quoted as saying. “That restaurant represented a certain era in America…after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War.” After, during and before: Apparently, the “certain era” Deen described is all the time.
Deen said she thought that the servers at the restaurant — clarifying that there were both men and women, lest you think Paula Deen is sexist, goodness no — “were slaves.”
So naturally, Deen chose that image as a catering inspiration point for the wedding of a man who owns a business called Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.
The deposition — which the Enquirer claims it has video footage of — is for a lawsuit filed in March by Lisa Jackson, a former employee of Deen’s, who is suing Deen and Bubba for sexual harassment and racial discrimination in the workplace.
The lawsuit alleges that Deen wanted the waiters to tap dance as well, as they would at “a true Southern wedding,” but was worried about media scrutiny. Because admitting to casually using the N-word in a deposition is the definition of “discreet.”
Deen’s rep issued a statement to TMZ, saying she “does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable” and “is looking forward to her day in court.”
It is unknown whether Uncle Bubba has given his deposition yet, but considering the brunt of Jackson’s complaint is against him — including routine sexual harassment of her and witnessing the beating of a black employee — for his sake, he might want to read the coverage of his sister’s deposition as a cautionary tale.