Paula Deen Addresses N-Word Controversy, Blames Southern Roots and Rejects Racism

Chef has been under fire for admitting in a video deposition that she'd used the term

By Lily Harrison
|  Thursday, Jun 20, 2013  |  Updated 6:00 PM EDT
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Paula Deen is clarifying her use of the N-word, following an admission last month in a video deposition as part of a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by a former employee.

"Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today," Paula Deen Enterprises said in a statement obtained by People.

The statement continued, "[Paula] was born 60 years ago when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today."

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The statement went on to say, "To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form or racism or discrimination."

Lisa Jackson, who used to manage a Georgia restaurant run by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers, sued them last year, claiming Deen used the N-word around her and that she was sexually harassed by Hiers.

Deen also admitted to raising the idea of black employees dressing identically for an apparently antebellum-themed wedding, saying she got the idea from a restaurant she went to where the waiters were all "middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful black jackets with a black bow tie..."

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