Details behind Paula Deen's video deposition

Published: Jun. 27, 2013 at 9:21 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2013 at 9:31 PM CDT
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Paula Deen continues to lose sponsors following her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.

A former manager at one of Deen's restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, filed a lawsuit last month against Deen and her brother over allegations of racial and sexual harassment.

Word leaked last week that in Deen's deposition in the lawsuit, she used a racial slur that refers to African Americans.

And that is when the controversy started.

KLTV and KTRE have a sister station in Savannah where reporters have had the opportunity to watch the three and-a-half hour deposition, which has not yet been released to the public.

We have the details of that deposition, many that have been ignored by the national media.

The million-dollar lawsuit is based on allegations of harassment, discrimination and work conditions. These allegations were made by Lisa Jackson, the former general manger of one of Deen's Savannah restaurants.

Deen denies many of those allegations. She appeared on the Today Show where she said tearfully, "I've had to hold friends in my arms while they sobbed because they know what's being said about me is not true."

However, she has admitted to using a racial slur in the past.

In that same interview with Matt Lauer, she said, "If there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back -- if you're out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please, I want to meet you."

These allegations were addressed in the video deposition seen by our Savannah reporters before it is scheduled to be released to the public in August.

In that deposition, Jackson said she once asked Deen what she wanted servers to wear for a plantation-style wedding. Jackson said Deen responded by saying quote "What I'd really like is for a bunch of little n-words to wear long sleeves, white shirts, and black shorts and bow ties."

However, Deen denies that allegation. She recalls being impressed by a restaurant in Tennessee that represented a certain "era in American history."

She said, "The whole entire waitstaff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret."

When the attorney questioned Deen about the era she was referring to, he seemed to lead her to say pre-civil war, which lead to this statement, "Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.  I would say that they were slaves. But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism."

And while many businesses are cutting ties with the celebrity, others, like the Dallas Metropolitan Cooking and Entertainment Show, said she has been a friend for many years and that her apology for using racist language in the past is sufficient.

Civil Rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson said he agreed to help Deen try to make amends, saying she should not become a "sacrificial lamb" over the issue of racial intolerance.

We also spoke to the president of Tyler's NAACP chapter. He said he is not ready to make a comment because he has not read the deposition in its entirety. However, he did say that his understanding is that those racist slurs were made in the past, and it is important to forgive.

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