Paula Deen Used N-Word Because 'She Was Born 60 Years Ago'

Image: Paula Deen Used N-Word Because 'She Was Born 60 Years Ago'

Friday, 21 Jun 2013 10:48 AM

By Megan Anderle

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Paula Deen admitted in a deposition in May that she has used the N-word in the past, and now her camp is defending the Food Network cooking personality's actions, claiming it was a much different time when she used it.

Dean missed her scheduled "Today" show appearance on Friday, apparently because of the controversy.

"During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today," read a statement from Paula Deen Enterprises obtained by ABC News. "She was born 60 years ago when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today."

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The statement concluded: "To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."

In the midst of her controversy, Deen didn't show up for a scheduled "Today" show appearance on Friday, reported USA Today. At the start of the NBC morning show, Matt Lauer said there would be no interview.

"We just found out she's a no-show," he said on the show, later tweeting "Hoping to get more info on the Paula Deen situation soon. Very confusing."

Her rep told him that she was "exhausted."

Lisa Jackson, who managed Paula Deen and her brother's restaurant in Savannah, Ga., is suing the two for racial and sexual discrimination for $1.2 million. During Deen's deposition, Jackson's lawyer asked Deen, 66, if she'd ever used the N-word, and she said, “Yes, of course.”

When asked what the context was, Deen recalled an instance in the 1980s when working as a bank teller when her branch was robbed.

"Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head," she said.

In a statement to ABC News, her lawyer, Bill Franklin, said Deen "does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable."

Deen claimed that neither she nor her brother have any prejudices against minorities.

"Bubby and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is," she said during the deposition. "It’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us."

Food Network, which broadcasts two of her shows, "Paula’s Best Dishes” and “Paula’s Home Cooking,” released a statement of their own.

"Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion," a Food Network spokeswoman told ABC News. "We will continue to monitor the situation."

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