The lawsuit against former Food Network host Paula Deen doesn’t simply revolve around the use of the “N-word,” the woman who filed the lawsuit clarified on Tuesday.
“This lawsuit has never been about the N-word,” Lisa Jackson said in a statement obtained by CNN. “It is to address Ms. Deen’s patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior.”
Jackson, a former manager at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House restaurants, sued Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers for racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
She alleged that Hiers viewed pornography at work, made sexual overtures toward her and other employees, tried to spit on her, and frequently used racist language. The lawsuit also said that Deen had planned a Southern plantation-style themed wedding for her brother, which would have included “a bunch of little ni**ers” as waiters “tap dancing” around.
Deen has denied the accusations, but did admit to using the racial slur “ni**er” in the past. The admission quickly became a national story, leading The Food Network and other companies to cut ties with her.
“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. Hier’s despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis,” Jackson added, according to CNN. “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.”
Deen, meanwhile, has attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed by citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Proposition 8 case.