Food Network chef and Southern comfort celebrity Paula Deen has been slapped with a lawsuit claiming she condoned an atmosphere of racism and sexual harassment at a restaurant she co-owns in Georgia. The lawsuit also details shocking allegations including the use of a racial slur against President Barack Obama, pornographic content shared and segregation of the restaurant's bathrooms.
The L.A. Times reported that the lawsuit against Paula Deen was filed on Monday in Savannah, Ga., by Lisa T. Jackson, a former employee at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, co-owned by Deen and her brother, Earl W. Bubba Hiers.
Jezebel reported on Tuesday some of the strangest and most atrocious details from the Paula Deen lawsuit, one of which includes a racial slur against President Obama.
Jackson, 48, left her job at the restaurant in August 2010. She is a white woman who managed numerous African American employees. She claims that over the course of five years she made numerous and frequent reports of racial and sexual harassment along with other troubling behavior to Deen and others in the restaurant's management group. However, these reports supposedly fell on deaf ears even though the inappropriate conduct was universally known.
She was promoted to manager at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House in 2005 to replace a man who was fired for sleeping with the waitresses at the restaurant. Hiers reportedly said to Jackson, If you think I have worked this hard to lose everything because of a piece of p----, you better think again.
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Jackson claims that Deen said They should send President Obama to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico so he could n----- rig it. Here is how Deen reportedly described her dream wedding: 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. Now, that would be a true Southern wedding wouldn't it?
The plaintiff also claims in the lawsuit against Paula Deen that white employees were allowed to use the customer bathroom at the front of the restaurant but African American employees had to use facilities in the back.
The 33-page civil complaint details behavior by Hiers ranging from physical intimidation, displays of pornographic material and sexually degrading acts towards Jackson. Hiers reportedly forcibly kissed Jackson's cheek, spit on her and repeatedly used racial epithet.
The lawsuit, which names Paula Deen, Earl Hiers and multiple Deen-owned companies as defendants, also includes details of pornography being viewed and shared at the restaurant, including a print-out of a forwarded email of two women have sexual intercourse.
It is unclear it the lawsuit against Paula Deen will hurt the celebrity chef's reputation. Deen is a star on the Food Network and her 14 cookbooks have sold more than 8 million copies. Her official Web site describes her as such: Paula's vivacious energy combined with a dazzling smile and infectious laugh is like America's best friend and next door neighbor.
This lawsuit is not the only heated issue Paula Deen has had to deal with as of late. When Deen revealed that she had diabetes and was now a spokesperson for the drug Victoza, she faced a harsh backlash from critics. Many claimed that the butter-loving, rib-cooking chef was promoting an unhealthy lifestyle which could lead to diabetes and then promoting the sale of a diabetes drug.
I am who I am, Deen told the Associated Press. I think the South gets a bad rap sometimes, saying our food is very unhealthy, but frankly I don't think that's the case. I think it's like any other food, whether it be Italian, French, Cajun. They all can be very high in calories and that's where we have to practice portion control and moderation.