Food Network star Paula Deen (shown in photo) has been dumped by her network following a racism scandal which began with a lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, a Caucasian woman in her 40s, against Deen and Deen’s brother, Bubba Hiers. Jackson’s lawsuit alleged that Deen had been guilty of using the “n-word,” sexual harassment, and infliction of emotional distress on Jackson while working at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Georgia from 2005 to 2010 as the General Manager.
The lawsuit took Deen and Hiers by surprise as they had a good relationship with Jackson before this all began. Prior to filing the lawsuit, Jackson had written a letter to Deen, praising both her and Hiers, which stated:
When I came to work for this company, as a person, I felt hopeless. I needed something, some opportunity that could provide me hope as an individual, as a woman, to make it on my own. At 15, homeless, without parents and with a young child, my life was headed in a direction no one could ever assume positive. As you know, I did what I had to do to survive, but it clearly was not the freedom or happiness I ever hoped for…. When I started working for Bubba, he gave me an opportunity that allowed me, over time, a freedom I have never experienced. He allowed me, for once in my life to take care of myself and for once, have faith in myself as a person and as a woman to know that I could do it on my own; y’all were my Aunt Peggy…. I have been given opportunities that I never thought possible, all because of you and Bubba.
Months later, however, Jackson left Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House without notice. Later, Deen and Hiers received a letter from Jackson’s attorney asking for $1.25 million in settlement for the accusations asserted by Jackson, or else she would go public about the accusations. Deen refused, and accused Jackson of extortion. Jackson moved forward with the lawsuit.
In response, attorneys for Paula Deen Enterprises and Bubba Hiers filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, citing the threatening letters submitted by Jackson.
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Photo of Paula Deen: AP Images