Paula Deen Admits Using Racial Slurs, Denies Being Racist

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Paula Deen admitted during questioning in a discrimination lawsuit against her that she has used racial slurs in the past, but insists she is not a racist.

Paula Deen Pic

The 66-year-old Food Network star and restaurant owner was peppered with questions about her racial attitudes and actions in a May 17 deposition.

Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, is suing Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, who own the restaurant.

Jackson claims that she was sexually harassed by Paula Deen and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and rampant n-word use.

A transcript of the deposition shows Deen being asked if she has used racial slurs.

"Yes, of course," Paula replied, although she added: "It's been a very long time."

Asked to give an example, Deen recalled the time she worked as a bank teller in southwest Georgia in the 1980s and was held at gunpoint by a robber.

The gunman was black, Deen told the attorney, and she thought she used the slur when talking about him. "Probably in telling my husband," she said.

Deen said she may have also used racial slurs when recalling conversations between employees at her restaurants, but couldn't recall any specifics.

"But that's just not a word that we use as time has gone on," Deen said.

"Things have changed since the '60s. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do."

William Franklin, Deen's lawyer, said later that "contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable."

Deen and Hiers have both denied the allegations made by Jackson, who is white, and Franklin says Deen is "looking forward to her day in court."

It's been a rough year and a half for Deen, who has also been feuding with Anthony Bourdain and has come under fire for pushing a diabetes drug.

She has lost a lot of weight, however. Kudos on that.

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