A celebrity cooking show host and her team are doing damage control after a revelation in a deposition for a court case. Asked under oath whether she has ever used the N-word, Paula Deen responded, “Yes, of course,” TMZ.com reports.
“Deen was being deposed in connection with a pending sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee who claims she was subjected to a barrage of racist, sexist and generally inappropriate comments while she worked at Paula’s Oyster House restaurant in Georgia,” the story reports.
A representative for Deen, who has a long relationship with Food Network and has hosted “Paula’s Home Cooking,” “Paula’s Best Dishes” and other shows, followed the revelation with a statement to TMZ saying: "Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.”
The TMZ report focuses in particular on one exchange from the taped deposition, including the following series of questions and answers:
“Lawyer: Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
“Paula: Yes, of course.
“Lawyer: Okay. In what context?
“Paula: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
“Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say?
“Paula: Well, I don’t remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple … I didn’t — I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.
“Lawyer: Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
“Paula: Absolutely not.
“Lawyer: Well, then, when did you use it?
“Paula: Probably in telling my husband.
“Lawyer: Okay. Have you used it since then?
“Paula: I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.”
The report notes that Deen was held at gunpoint during a 1986 bank robbery.
Later in the exchange, Deen adds: “That’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.”
Deen had not commented for the report.