Since Paula Deen admitted to casually using the n-word to discuss her vision for a “plantation-style wedding” with black servers, the celebrity chef has lost her $2.5 million contract with the Food Network and another contract with Smithfield Foods. Her sons Bobby Deen and Jamie Deen appeared on CNN Tuesday to claim the portrayal of Deen’s words began as an “extortion case” and has turned into “character assassination.”
“Coming from a high profile family there are opportunists and my mom submitted and apologized and as a person what more can you do?” Jamie Deen said. Paula Deen’s apologies have noted the language was “inappropriate” and “hurtful,” although she has also said that she’s a victim.
Her sons continued that narrative on CNN’s New Day with host Chris Cuomo, claiming it’s “simply not true” that she used the n-word with her family. “I’m disgusted by the entire thing because it began as extortion and it’s become character assassination and our mother is not the picture of this being painted of her,” Bobby Deen said.
A lawsuit against Deen and her brother’s restaurant alleges that they were violent, discriminatory, and racist toward a former manager. But according to the Deens, the lawsuit is a lie because many of their employees have worked with them for over a decade:
CUOMO: Jamie in the deposition your mother says she taught you that there can be acceptable uses of the “n” word, not to use it in a mean way but you can use it sometimes. Is that true?
JAMIE: That’s completely false. I’ve never heard that before in my life. The first time I’d ever heard that was just now, Chris. My mother would never teach bobby and I anything other — we’re obviously a product of our environment. We care very much about our community. I’m raising two boys now. This is ridiculous, completely absurd to think there is an environment of racism in our business and it’s really disrespectful to the people we work with. We have strong educated men and women of character that have been with us for 5, 10, 15, 20 years, to think they would allow themselves to be in this position is simply baloney. It’s ridiculous.
One of many criticisms of Deen is that her apology arrived only after her comments became public. In the discrimination lawsuit that began the family’s troubles, Deen allegedly said, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little niggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.”
Deen’s sons claimed that the “chances of somebody else coming out behind” the controversy are “pretty good.”