If you’re like me, you haven’t taken the trouble to investigate the Paula Deen N-word business any further. (I had never paid that much attention to Deen anyway. I’m not a cooking-show aficionado.) You agreed, of course, that she should not have used the N-word. You mentally denounced the practice. Deen isn’t a rap star or a high-powered director making a Hollywood movie, so, of course, she is ineligible to use the N-word for “art’s” sake.
You figured that what was being retailed in the news about her was substantially correct. You thought it was sad that a folksy, funny lady who had made a big success out of down-home cooking was brought low by careless bad manners, recorded at some point in her life. You were annoyed at the apparent persistence of this stupid, destructive pattern in Southern social intercourse. When is it all going to stop, for crying out loud?
But if you had taken the trouble to investigate, as John Leonard did, you would have discovered the following:
1. Paula Deen was sued by a white former employee.
2. The purpose of the lawsuit was to get Deen to fork over $1.25 million, or have it exposed to the public that she had once used the N-word thirty years ago. This was made explicit by the plaintiff’s attorney, Wesley Woolf, who specified in a letter demanding settlement that Deen was likely to see her commercial activities damaged by this threatened exposure. The lawsuit, in other words, is a shakedown.
3. When Deen used the N-word, it was about a black man who had robbed the bank where she worked, while pointing a gun to her head. She was speaking privately in her home when she used the word.
4. The white former employee, Lisa Jackson, wrote a letter when she left Deen’s employ expressing fulsome thanks for the opportunities Deen and her brother had provided. (Don’t believe the thanks were fulsome? Read the excerpt from the letter.)
5. Under oath as the plaintiff in her shakedown lawsuit, Jackson testified as follows (emphasis in original):
In her deposition, Ms. Jackson was forced to admit that she never heard Paula Deen utter a racial epithet, never knew her to discriminate against an employee based on gender, and never knew Paula Deen to sexually harass anyone.
So this entire thing is about a shakedown lawsuit, brought by a former employee who apparently had received blessings from Ms. Deen’s hands.
(Note: as indicated in this local-media report, Paula Deen denied under oath using the N-word in conjunction with discussing her brother’s wedding. That is the other allegation being reported about her in the mainstream media. Her full testimony is worth reading; she observes that the South has changed since her use of the N-word to describe an armed robber three decades ago, and that she hasn’t used the word for a long time.)
That the mainstream media have focused exclusively – and misleadingly – on the fact that Deen once used the N-word is a nice example of their endemic bias and narrative-tending. You haven’t gotten the whole story from them on Paula Deen and the N-word. So you probably have an inaccurate understanding of what’s going on. It is well to remember this dynamic, whenever we see damning “information” about anyone being reported in the MSM today. My hope for Paula Deen, a person I don’t know and never paid much attention to, is that she finds whatever she has lost through this lawsuit restored to her tenfold.