U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. dismissed the racial discrimination claims in a lawsuit filed by a former employee against Paula Deen.
In his ruling he said that former employee, Lisa Jackson, can’t claim to be a victim of racial discrimination against African-Americans because she is white. He wrote, “At best, plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination.”
A spokesperson for Deen told CNN, “We are pleased with the Court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed…..as Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”
Deen’s career and reputation were damaged after her deposition in the lawsuit, in which she admitted using the n-word in the past, was released. Dean has said repeatedly that she is not a racist, but her statements have failed to suppress the controversy.
Lisa Jackson alleged in the lawsuit that Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism against her.
After working for five years in various restaurants owned by Deen and her brother, her employment ended.
In the aftermath of the bad publicity, Deen lost lucrative endorsements; her Food Network cooking show was canceled as was the publication of her new cookbook.
Jackson alleged that a “racially biased attitude prevailed throughout and pervaded defendants restaurant operations.” She said that African-American staff had to use a rear entrance of the restaurant.
She claimed “immense personal and work related emotional and physical distress” because ” employees came to her complain and for help, which she felt obligated to give but was unable to fully provide.”
However, the judge ruled, “There are no allegations that defendant Hiers’ racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her.”
In spite of being cleared of this claim, Paula Deen and her brother still have to face the sexual harassment allegations by Jackson.
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