Paula Deen Racism Scandal: Restaurant at Center of Controversy Closes Down

SBWFF 2013 - Grand Tasting Village - Day 2

After 10 years, Uncle Bubba’s has served its last oyster

The restaurant that served as the birthplace of Paula Deen’s racism scandal has closed down.

The Savannah, Georgia, restaurant Uncle Bubba’s Seafood & Oyster House, which was owned by celebrity chef Deen’s brother, Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers Jr., has served it last oyster, according to the restaurant’s website.

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“Thank you for 10 great years,” a message on the restaurant’s website and Facebook page reads. “Uncle Bubba’s is now closed.”

The restaurant served as the epicenter of Deen’s professional undoing last year, after a former employee at the restaurant filed a lawsuit claiming that she was subjected to a workplace filled with racism, sexism, and threats of violence.

The racial claim was dismissed after a judge ruled that the employee, who is white, couldn’t sue on those grounds, and the case was eventually settled amicably.

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However, the lawsuit yielded a deposition in which Deen admitted to having used the N-word in the past. News of the deposition prompted multiple awkward apologies from Deen, and caused a host of Deen’s business partners — including the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Walmart and Target — to sever ties with the butter-happy celebrity chef.

In recent months, signs of a career resurgence for Deen have emerged; she received between $75 and $100 million for her new company, Paula Deen Ventures, from Phoenix-based private equity firm Najafi Companies.

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Deen also surfaced at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in February, declaring her intention to “get back in the saddle” — before riding on the back at fellow celebrity foodie Robert Irvine.