Paula Deen's use of word "n—er," is a remnant from the times she grew up in, her representative said in a statement Thursday, after the Food Network star admitted in a deposition last month that she has used the word in the past.
"During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today," the statement read.
The statement about Deen, 66, said she was "born 60 years ago when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today. … To be clear, Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."
Deen was deposed May 17 in a lawsuit brought against her and her brother, Bubba Hiers, by Lisa T. Jackson, a former employee of their Savannah, Ga., restaurant, Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House.
Jackson says she suffered from Hiers' violent, sexist and racist behavior and that Deen did nothing to stop it.
Jackson claims in her lawsuit that Deen once expressed a desire for Hiers' 2007 wedding to be staffed by a "bunch of little n—ers" wearing "long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties," adding, "you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.” The suit said Deen abandoned the idea because "the media would be on me about that.”
Deen denied using the word in that instance, though she did say she wanted a "plantation" style wedding staffed by African-American waiters. She admitted using the word in the past, but was unclear about when she stopped using it. She said she once used it to describe an African-American man who held her at gunpoint, and had also used it while repeating conversations between African-Americans who had used the word.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.