The woman who filed the harassment suit against Paula Deen released a statement explaining that the suit "has never been about the N-word."
A timeline of Paula Deen's downfall
Deen's fall from grace began when the chef acknowledged using the racial slur in her deposition in Lisa Jackson's suit, which was made public.
"This lawsuit has never been about the N-word," Jackson said in the statement obtained by CNN. "It is to address Ms. Deen's patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior."
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Jackson, a former manager at one of Deen's Savannah, Ga., restaurants, filed a $1.2 million discrimination suit against the chef and her brother Earl "Bubba" Hiers, claiming that the pair committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism. Deen maintains that she does not tolerate prejudice, though in the leaked deposition, she confesses to using the N-word several times and once wanting black waiters to play the role of slaves in a wedding party.
"I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of Mr. Hiers' despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis," Jackson's statement continued. "I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about all races, and that is why I feel it is important to be the voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs."
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Deen is now trying to use the Supreme Court's recent ruling against Proposition 8, which cleared the way for gay marriage in California, to get the lawsuit dismissed, Deadline reports. In the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that in order for a person to sue, they must have "suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct." Deen's camp has interpreted this to mean that since Jackson is white, she doesn't have standing to sue since she didn't suffer personally from the chef's racial discrimination.
Since Deen's deposition leaked, the chef has lost multiple endorsements, her Food Network show and a book deal. Look at a timeline of her downfall here.