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Attorneys for TV Chef Lash Out at Lawsuit Alleging Racism, Sexual Harassment and Violence

Mar 7, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Attorneys for a well-known TV chef issued a response to allegations of racist behavior, sexual harassment, infliction of emotional distress and assault contained in a lawsuit, EW.com reports.

The suit against Paula Deen was filed by Lisa Jackson, the former general manager of Bubba’s Oyster House, co-owned by Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers. The allegations center on alleged events in the workplace.

Jackson describes Hiers’ behavior during the five years she held the position as “physically threatening and universally humiliating,” the story reports.

The story reports: “In her lawsuit, Jackson alleges several instances in which celebrity chef Deen and her brother used the N-word in a professional setting, including at Hiers’ 2007 wedding and when Hiers suggested President Obama should be sent ‘to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico so he could n—-r-rig it.’ She claims African-American employees were told to use back doors and segregated bathrooms. Jackson also alleges Hiers referred to her as ‘my little Jew girl’ after her success managing the restaurant.”

The report adds: “Jackson also claims she was sexually harassed by Hiers, who allegedly watched pornography on his work computer in their shared office. According to the lawsuit, he also asked Jackson to ‘bring pictures of herself when she was young for him to view.’”

Jackson names Deen and Hiers personally in the lawsuit, along with Deen’s various companies and the restaurant.

Oliver Maner LLP, the law firm representing Deen, issued a response to EW, stating: “We investigated [Jackson’s] claims and attempted unsuccessfully to address those claims with her. She has made baseless, inflammatory allegations, threatening to go to the press and ruin Paula Deen’s reputation and the reputation of her businesses unless we paid her a large sum of money. We refused to bow to that kind of pressure and refused to pay money to address false claims.”

EW reports that the statement also says Jackson’s allegations “will be proven false in court. We have filed our defensive pleadings with the court denying Ms. Jackson’s claims and those pleadings are a matter of public record. We will hold Ms. Jackson and her lawyer accountable for these false allegations. We look forward to our day in court and have nothing further to say.”

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