The woman at the center of discrimination accusations that have sent celebrity chef Paula Deen’s career into a tailspin said on Wednesday that her lawsuit was not about “the n-word” but about a work atmosphere of hurtful bias — and that racism hurts even white people.
Lisa Jackson said on the “Today” show that her suit is intended “to address Ms. Deen’s patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior.”
As part of that, the n-word comes in to play, she said.
Ms. Jackson said that just because she’s white doesn’t mean she can’t speak of discrimination experienced by others.
She said, United Press International reported: “I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of [Deen’s brother] Mr. [Bubba] Hier’s despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about discrimination in the workplace. In part, in this circumstance, I have to be a voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs.”
Ms. Jackson managed one of Ms. Deen’s Savannah, Ga., restaurants for five years. She alleges in a court suit that Ms. Deen and her brother discriminated against restaurant employees on numerous occasions and slung racial slurs frequently. Ms. Jackson also alleges in her suit that Mr. Hiers is guilty of sexual harassment and assault.
Her comments came on the heels of a claim from Ms. Deen’s attorneys that she could not have felt racial discrimination because she’s white.