Paula Deen Lawsuit that Caused Her Downfall Is Dismissed
A former employee releases a statement saying Deen was not personally responsible
Paula Deen and a former employee have reached a settlement to dismiss the remaining claims in a lawsuit that cost the celebrity chef a chunk of her empire.
The U.S. District Court in Savannah, Ga., on Friday formally dismissed the sexual harassment case with prejudice, meaning it can’t be filed again, just days after the judge threw out the racial discrimination portion of the lawsuit.
A court document said both sides reached the settlement “without any award of costs or fees to any party.”
The former employee, Lisa Jackson, released a statement saying Deen was not personally responsible.
“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,” said Jackson. “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. I now know that the workplace environment issues that I raised are being reviewed and will in the future no longer be at issue.”
Jackson had 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.
“I am looking forward to getting this behind me, now that the remaining claims have been resolved,” Deen said in a statement. “During this time my faith has strengthened me and the tremendous outpouring of support as well as prayers from folks from all walks of life has been both humbling and overwhelming.I am confident that those who truly know how I live my life know that I believe in kindness and fairness for everyone.”
Deen also said of Jackson, “We appreciate her service” working at Uncle Bubba’s for five years.
“Moving forward my team and I are working to review the workplace environment issues that were raised in this matter and to retool all of my businesses operations,” Deen added. “I look forward to getting back to doing what I love.”
The Food Network and other business partners dropped Deen after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past during questioning by Jackson’s lawyers.
Since the fallout, Deen, 66, has led a quiet life at home in Savannah. “She’s doing okay,” a producer friend recently told PEOPLE. “She’s a fighter and she’s got a family who supports her.”