After the Paula Deen racial slur controversy cooled down a little, the former Food Network star has been thrown in the line of fire once again after a former chef for the Butter Queen said the 66-year-old had an employee to dress up like Aunt Emma. Say what?
One of Deen’s chefs, Dora Charles, sat down for an interview with the New York Times where she explained that saying the N-word was’t the only thing inflammatory the Georgia native had done. Apparently Deen had an African-American woman named Neat “Jelly roll” Jones dress up as Aunt Emma at her Lady & Sons restaurant where Jones flipped shortcakes to entertain diners. An image of Jones ringing a dinner bell was turned into a postcard that was sold at the restaurant.
The New York Times story said, “Ms. Deen used Ms. Jones for restaurant theater” after she asked Jones to wear “old-style Aunt Emma outfit.” But the cook was’t happy about fulfilling Deen’s wishes. “Jelly roll did’t want to hear that,” Charles, who worked with Deen for 22 years, told the the Times. “She did’t want to do that.”
It’s been a few weeks since Deen’s racist comments came to light, but Charles told the New York Times that she spoke now so people could find out about the real Deen. “It’s just time that everybody knows that Paula Deen don’t treat me the way they think she treat me,” she said. For years the 59-year-old made less than $10 an hour working for Deen.
It could be that, or the fact that Charles wants to get some money out of the former Food Network chef. She said Deen promised her friend would get rich with her but that has’t happened. “Stick with me, Dora, and I promise you one day if I get rich you’All get rich,” she said. “I did’t think I had to ’cause we were real close back then,” Charles added.
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But the 66-year-old’s camp won’t be pushed around by Charles’ accusations. “Fundamentally Dora’s complaint is not about race but about money,” Deen’s representatives told the NYT. “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 maintained her accusations are not about money and that Deen is still her friend. “I’m not trying to portray that she is a bad person,” she said. “I’m just trying to put my story out there that she did’t treat me fairly and I was her soul sister.”
“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.”