Paula Deen lawsuit dismissed, but not before it destroyed career


Paula Deen won the battle, but she may have lost the war: The discrimination lawsuit brought against her was dismissed Friday, but only after it devastated the multimillion-dollar career of one of the most popular icons of the food world.

A document filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Ga., said both sides reached a settlement “without any award of costs or fees to any party,” according to the Associated Press.

Deen said in a statement that she is “looking forward to getting this behind me,” but says she also plans to review workplace environment issues raised in the lawsuit, according to the news service.


The legal decision came in the lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, who is white, and who filed a lawsuit accusing the Queen of Southern Cooking of racial discrimination and sexual harassment. The former employee at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah said racial slurs and sexual innuendo were a rampant part of the culture there.

The judge overseeing the case determined that Jackson, who worked for Deen, had no standing as a victim of racial discrimination, but allowed the sexual harassment claim to stand.

The case ended up casting a toxic cloud over Deen, who admitted during a deposition in the case that she used the N-word decades earlier -- not by hurling it at an employee, but in a private conversation.

Deen tried to explain away the circumstances. She said she used the word after she was held up at gunpoint by an African American man. But it helped unleash a tidal wave of negative media attention that cost Deen millions of dollars in endorsements and deals. Among them: Food Network announced that it would not renew their relationship.

An attorney for Deen did not return a phone call seeking comment.


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