Paula Deen Reportedly Planned a Wedding With Waiters Who Looked Like ‘Slaves’ [Updated]
The flamboyant television food personality and enthusiastic pusher of an inane new line of pointless butter spreads allegedly admitted to telling racist jokes, using the N-word regularly, and — wait for it — enlisting "black men to play the role of slaves at a wedding" she was planning. All of these awful new Paula Deen factoids and more are courtesy of Radar, which reportedly had access to a deposition that was videotaped last month in conjunction with the sexual harassment charges levied against Deen's brother Bubba by former Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House general manager Lisa Jackson last year.
Details, some of which have been posted in advance of what's being touted as a "bombshell report" that publishes tomorrow in the National Enquirer, states that the celebrity chef tells jokes "about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks" and says, "I can’t determine what offends another person." When asked if she ever used the N-word, Deen allegedly responds, "Yes, of course."
Meanwhile, TMZ has posted what alleges to be a partial transcript of the videotaped deposition in which Deen admits to using the N-word, but says does not regularly use racial slurs.
Another line of questioning allegedly pertained to a wedding planned by Deen in which she had the idea to have a team of "middle-aged black men" wearing "beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie" serve guests. Here's Deen's (perhaps tellingly) ellipsis-heavy comment:
“I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War It was not only black men, it was black women I would say they were slaves.”
If this is any indication of what's going to be in the museum, we're just going to stay on the tour bus, thanks.
Update: When contacted by Grub Street, a legal representative for Deen wrote back: “Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.”
Update 2: Here's the full deposition, which includes more detailed transcripts of the exchanges in question (we've skipped over objections and side conversations that aren't relevant):
Q:Okay. So was Lisa ever present when you discussed with Brandon what kind of wedding you’d like to have?
A. [...] I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret.
Q. The media might misinterpret it?
A. Yes, or whomever -
A. -- is so shallow that they would read something into it.
Q. Okay. And they were all black men?
A. Yes. Professional servers and waiters.
Q. And when you described it to Miss Jackson, did you mention the race of - well, you had to have mentioned the race of the servers -
A. Of course I would -
Q. -- because that’s the part that -
A. -- because that’s what we just experienced.
Q. Right. Do you know what word you used to identify their race?
A. I would have used just what I just told you.
Q. Black or African-American?
A. Black. I would use the word black
A. I don’t usually use African-Americans.
A. I try to go with whatever the black race is wanting to call themselves at each given time. I try to go along with that and remember that.
Q. Okay. So is there any reason that you could not have done something just like that but with people of different races?
A. That’s what made it so impressive. These were professional. I’m not talking about somebody that’s been a waiter for two weeks. I’m talking about these were professional middle-aged men, that probably made a very, very good living -
A. -- at this restaurant. They were trained. The - it - it was the whole picture, the setting of the restaurant, the servers, their professionalism.
Q. Is there any reason you couldn’t have found middle-aged professional servers who were of different races?
A: Listen, it was not important enough to me to even fight, to reproduce what that restaurant had. I was just simply expressing an experience that my husband and I had, and I was so impressed.
Q. Did you describe it as a - that that would be a true southern wedding,
words to that effect?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Do you recall using the words “really southern plantation wedding”?
A. Yes, I did say I would love for Bubba to experience a very southern style
wedding, and we did that. We did that.
Q. Okay. You would love for him to experience a southern style plantation wedding?
Q. That’s what you said?
A. Well, something like that, yes. And -
Q. Okay. And is that when you went on to describe the experience you had at the restaurant in question?
A. Well, I don’t know. We were probably talking about the food or - we
would have been talking about something to do with service at the
wedding, and -
Q. Is there any possibility, in your mind, that you slipped and used the word “n----r”?
A. No, because that’s not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job.
Q. Why did that make it a - if you would have had servers like that, why would that have made it a really southern plantation wedding?
A. Well, it - to me, of course I’m old but I ain’t that old, I didn’t live back in those days but I’ve seen the pictures, and the pictures that I’ve seen, that restaurant represented a certain era in America.
A. And I was in the south when I went to this restaurant. It was located in the south.
Q. Okay. What era in America are you referring to?
A. Well, I don’t know. After the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War.
Q. Right. Back in an era where there were middle-aged black men waiting on white people.
A. Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.
Q. Sure. And before the Civil War - before the Civil War, those black men and women who were waiting on white people were slaves, right?
A. Yes, I would say that they were slaves.
A. But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism
Paula Deen Racist Comments, Use Of N-Word Allegedly Caught On Video [HuffPo]
Paula Deen Admits Using The N-Word & Making Racial Jokes In Explosive Deposition [Radar via Jezebel]
Earlier: Paula Deen-Branded Butter Sounds Absolutely Delicious
Earlier: Paula Deen and Brother, Bubba Hiers, Accused of Sexual Harassment
Related: 10 Things That Need to Go Inside the Paula Deen Museum
*This post has been updated throughout.