Paula Deen on Using N-Word: Those Were Different Times
Paula Deen is again defending herself after an admission went public this week about her past use of the N-word.
The celebrity chef has come under fire after a newly filed deposition revealed that she used the widely condemned racial slur years earlier.
On Wednesday, her lawyer released a statement that said the 66-year-old Food Network star “does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable.” A day later, Paula Deen Enterprises released a new statement echoing that position.
“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,” reads the statement given to PEOPLE.
“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.”
The statement goes on: “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.”
Deen made her shocking admission in a May 17 deposition connected to a lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, which is owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers. Jackson claims she was in a hostile work environment filled with innuendo and racial slurs.
According to the deposition transcript filed in U.S. District Court Monday, Deen admitted to using the racial slur after an attorney for Jackson asked if she ever used the N-word.
“Yes, of course,” Deen replied, and added: “It’s been a very long time.”
Meanwhile, The Food Network, which airs both Paula’s Best Dishes and Paula’s Home Cooking stopped short of defending its longtime star in a statement to PEOPLE about the controversy.
“Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion,” a rep for the network says in a statement to PEOPLE. “We will continue to monitor the situation.”