Paula Deen "Lynched" By Public Mob Without Merit, Savannah Newspaper Claims

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Georgia history books report 458 lynchings there from 1882-1930, making for "a permanent bruise on the Peach State," a Savannah Morning News op-ed reads.

Better make it 459 after the treatment Paula Deen has gone through, her hometown paper says, after the treatment she's received over the past few weeks.

The Deen of Cooking

We're not paraphrasing, that's their word of choice. The opinion piece states:

"Savannah’s celebrity chef has been lynched - figuratively and publicly in the court of public opinion, and without a full and fair accounting of the facts."

Why? Mostly because the 66-year-old master of comfort food recipes and self-made mogul "said 'no' to the equivalent of a shakedown."

The editorial uses the lynching metaphor as "a reminder that justice should be dispensed in court, not at the end of a rope" or "by money-grubbing lawyers."

When Deen refused to pay $1.25 million in hush money to a former employee of her brother’s restaurant, the paper says, "the lynch mob began forming."

How bad was the effort to bilk and slander Paula? Savannah attorney S. Wesley Woolf reportedly wrote to Deen's lawyer, on behalf of Lisa Jackson:

“Exposure of the racist and sexist culture of her corporate and personal life is going to permanently, and irreparably, damage the value of the brand,"

"If we are unable to settle, the Complaint will not be quietly filed. I am making arrangements for a press conference on the day of the filing."

"I have identified the journalist for the New York Times who covers civil rights matters and he will be provided a pre-filing exclusive."

"A nationwide press release will be issued to the major networks, newspapers, newsmagazines and news websites across the country.”

The Times didn’t break the June 19 story about Deen using racial slurs (in the distant past) - the National Enquirer did - but the story spread rapidly.

The Morning News notes that Jackson's goal was "whipping a mob into a frenzy," and calls it "a lynching for our times," a term it insists is fitting.

None of this absolves Deen from using a racist slur, the paper says, but "there is such as thing as punishment fitting the crime ... this doesn’t come close."

"These rope burns were undeserved."

Do you agree? Was Deen the victim of a virtual lynch mob? Or did she deserve what she got? Share your comments with us and vote in our survey below:

Should Deen have been fired?