Paula Deen discrimination lawsuit dropped, deal reached by both sides
By Sydney Bucksbaum, Zap2It
Paula Deen started her weekend off of the right foot: lawyers signed a deal Friday (Aug. 23) to drop a discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against her.
Celebrity cook Deen has been dropped by the Food Network and other business partners after she said under oath that she had used racial slurs in the past, but it looks like the discrimination suit won't affect her anymore. A document filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah said both sides of the case agreed to drop the lawsuit "without any award of costs or fees to any party," ABC News reports. No other details of the agreement were released.
The discrimination suit was filed by former employee Lisa Jackson last year, when she sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, saying she suffered from sexual harassment and racially offensive talk and employment practices that were unfair to black workers.
Judge William T. Moore threw out the race discrimination claims two weeks ago, ruling Jackson, who is white, had no standing to sue over what she said was poor treatment of black workers. He let Jackson's claims of sexual harassment stand, but Friday's deal drops those also.
"While this has been a difficult time for both my family and myself, I am pleased that the judge dismissed the race claims and I am looking forward to getting this behind me," Deen said in a statement.
Jackson also issued a statement, taking back her assertions that Deen held racist views.
"I assumed that all of my complaints about the workplace environment were getting to Paula Deen, but I learned during this matter that this was not the case," Jackson said in the statement, which was confirmed by her attorney. "The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone."
The lawsuit -- filed over a year ago -- continued to get public attention until Jackson's lawyer questioned Deen under oath in May. When the transcript of the deposition became public in June, it caused an immediate backlash against Deen, leading to her sponsors and business partners dropping her over her use of the "n-word."