Paula Deen, who is in the middle of a controversy after admitting to using a racial slur in the '80s, has used her southern upbringing as an excuse for using the N-word.
Paula Deen Enterprises, her company, released a statement to the media stating that America was a different place during the 1980s, and racism was prevalent. The statement also says that Deen was born at a time when schools in the south were segregated and African Americans rode in different parts of the bus and had different restaurants.
“During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today," a statement cited by TMZ said. “To be clear Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."
The statement raises a few questions. According to the deposition, Deen admitted to using the N-word when she worked at a bank that was robbed by a black assailant who pointed a gun to her head.
It is not clear when this event occurred, but published reports indicate Deen worked with a bank in the mid-1980s -- well after the Civil Rights movement had transformed racial attitudes in the South and elsewhere.
Advertisers and the Food Network channel, which broadcasts two of Deen’s popular cooking shows, said they are aware of the controversy and are keeping an eye on developments.
"Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion," the network said in a statement cited by the Los Angeles Times.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.