Paula Deen: No racial discrimination case, says judge

Paula Deen used the 'N' word, but a Georgia judge ruled that there was no basis for a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by a former white employee. Paula Deen was dropped by the Food Network and other sponsors after she acknowledged using racial slurs.

A federal judge in Georgia has thrown out race discrimination claims by a former Savannah restaurant manager whose lawsuit against Paula Deen ended up causing the celebrity cook to lose a big slice of her culinary empire.

Lisa Jackson sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, last year saying she was subjected to sexual harassment and racist attitudes during the five years she worked at their restaurant, Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House.

As The Christian Science Monitor (and others) reported in June, "the now former Food Network star and Savannah, Ga., restaurateur said in a May deposition ... that “of course” she had used the word, but not in a “mean way.”

In part because Deen has been embraced by liberals like Oprah Winfrey and Kathy Griffin, and has been an avid Obama supporter, the N-word quotes shocked many of her fans and confirmed for many Northerners that behind that genteel facade and Sun Belt shine, the South hasn’t really changed.

As Chicago Now columnist John Chatz wrote, “To many of us, the South still stands for slavery and the Civil War. This may be wrong and it may be simple, but people like Paula Deen help keep these opinions alive.”

 But U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled Monday that Jackson, who is white, has no standing to sue them for race discrimination.

The ruling leaves intact Jackson's sexual harassment claims.

The Food Network and other business partners dropped Deen after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past during questioning by Jackson's lawyers.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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