Kentuckiana weighs in on Paula Deen controversy


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 21 at 3:40 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky.(WHAS11) -- Paula Deen is embroiled in controversy after a law suit was filed by a former employee accusing her of using racial slurs.

According to newly released depositions, Deen admits to using the "n" word, planning a southern slave-style theme wedding and using racial slurs.

The explosive allegations could tarnish the queen of Southern hospitality’s empire.

Deen is known for her Southern food and Southern charm. Now, that image could be in trouble after she admitted to using racial slurs, telling racist jokes and planning a slavery themed wedding.

The news shocked Kentuckiana fans of the Food Network Star, many of them saying they will boycott her buffet at the Horseshoe Casino in Southern Indiana.

"I was shocked, I won't be eating there," Whitney Hensly, Indiana resident, said.
"I know she apologized but what can you do? Once it's done it's done. She just ruined her little reputation," Linda Perkins of Louisville said.

Details of the allegations were made public in the newly released depositions.
May 17, the 66-year-old cook was asked, "Have you ever used the 'n' word yourself?"

Deen answered: "Yes, of course. I'm sure I have but it’s been a very long time."

Currently, Deen is being sued for $1.2 million by a former employee that worked in her Georgia restaurant. In additions to the racist allegations, the employee also alleges Deen's brother sexually harassed her.

Deen denies the allegations but it may be too late to save her reputation.  

"There's probably people out there that it won't affect at all, but I think as far as her TV show and book, I think it will hurt sales," Joe Clements of Indiana said.

"Not only hurting her, but her sons, too. They have restaurants, too. Over at the boat they have a sandwich shop," Hensly said.
Deen's lawyer spoke out about the allegations and said they are false.

"Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable," her lawyer, Bill Franklin, said. "She is looking forward to her day in court."   

Food Network released the following statement:

"Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation."