Paula Deen, the disgraced Food Network star who lost a multimillion dollar enterprise when she admitted to using racial slurs in court, was vindicated in a small way Monday, after a judge dismissed the portion of a lawsuit dealing with a racial discrimination claim that has cost the Southern culinary personality countless business deals.
The lawsuit against Paula Deen was filed in U.S. district court in Savannah, Georgia, by Lisa Jackson, who worked for five years at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers.
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Jackson claimed she was the victim of sexual harassment and alleged there was a pattern of racial discrimination against African-American employees at Paula Deen's restaurant, Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House.
U.S. District Judge William Moore ruled on Monday that Jackson had no grounds to sue on the basis of racial discrimination because she is white. There were no allegations that any racially offensive remarks were directed at her or intended to harass her, the judge ruled.
He said he would decide later whether the sexual harassment part of the lawsuit could go forward.
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Paula Deen, 66, admitted in a deposition in the case that she had used the "N-word,
" an admission that prompted Scripps Networks Interactive Inc to drop her cooking show from its cable television channel, the Food Network.
Other companies rushed to cut their ties with Paula Deen, dropping her as a celebrity endorser and announcing they would no longer carry the cookbooks, housewares and other products that helped Paula Deen build a multi-million dollar enterprise.
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