What you probably didn’t know about the Paula Deen dust-up

It’s a shakedown.

It’s something you probably didn’t even think about, when news of Paula Deen’s use of the N-word penetrated your consciousness.

If you’re like me, you haven’t taken the trouble to investigate the Paula Deen N-word business any further.  (I had never paid that much attention to Deen anyway.  I’m not a cooking-show aficionado.)  You agreed, of course, that she should not have used the N-word.  You mentally denounced the practice.  Deen isn’t a rap star or a high-powered director making a Hollywood movie, so, of course, she is ineligible to use the N-word for “art’s” sake.

You figured that what was being retailed in the news about her was substantially correct.  You thought it was sad that a folksy, funny lady who had made a big success out of down-home cooking was brought low by careless bad manners, recorded at some point in her life.  You were annoyed at the apparent persistence of this stupid, destructive pattern in Southern social intercourse.  When is it all going to stop, for crying out loud?

But if you had taken the trouble to investigate, as John Leonard did, you would have discovered the following:

1.  Paula Deen was sued by a white former employee.

2.  The purpose of the lawsuit was to get Deen to fork over $1.25 million, or have it exposed to the public that she had once used the N-word thirty years ago.  This was made explicit by the plaintiff’s attorney, Wesley Woolf, who specified in a letter demanding settlement that Deen was likely to see her commercial activities damaged by this threatened exposure.  The lawsuit, in other words, is a shakedown.

3.  When Deen used the N-word, it was about a black man who had robbed the bank where she worked, while pointing a gun to her head.  She was speaking privately in her home when she used the word.

4.  The white former employee, Lisa Jackson, wrote a letter when she left Deen’s employ expressing fulsome thanks for the opportunities Deen and her brother had provided.  (Don’t believe the thanks were fulsome?  Read the excerpt from the letter.)

5. Under oath as the plaintiff in her shakedown lawsuit, Jackson testified as follows (emphasis in original):

In her deposition, Ms. Jackson was forced to admit that she never heard Paula Deen utter a racial epithet, never knew her to discriminate against an employee based on gender, and never knew Paula Deen to sexually harass anyone.

So this entire thing is about a shakedown lawsuit, brought by a former employee who apparently had received blessings from Ms. Deen’s hands.


(Note: as indicated in this local-media report, Paula Deen denied under oath using the N-word in conjunction with discussing her brother’s wedding.  That is the other allegation being reported about her in the mainstream media.  Her full testimony is worth reading; she observes that the South has changed since her use of the N-word to describe an armed robber three decades ago, and that she hasn’t used the word for a long time.)

That the mainstream media have focused exclusively – and misleadingly – on the fact that Deen once used the N-word is a nice example of their endemic bias and narrative-tending.  You haven’t gotten the whole story on Paula Deen and the N-word.  So you probably have an inaccurate understanding of what’s going on.  It is well to remember this dynamic, whenever we see damning “information” about anyone being reported in the MSM today.  My hope for Paula Deen, a person I don’t know and never paid much attention to, is that she finds whatever she has lost through this lawsuit restored to her tenfold.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.

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8 thoughts on “What you probably didn’t know about the Paula Deen dust-up”

  1. If that is all to it, then Paula Deen had terrible advisers. She could have come forward with that story, on Oprah, immediately and the ex-employee would have been the heavy. With all her wealth and power, she sure picked the wrong people to surround her.

  2. I spent 10 years in a sensitive civil service capacity within the Executive Office of the President. This period spanned three presidents and both parties. Early on I discovered that press accounts of the subjects about which I knew a lot were invariably incorrect, incomplete, or both. But for a long time I presumed that stories about which I knew little or nothing were reported accurately.

    That made no sense. I then adopted the rule that nothing reported by the press should be presumptively accurate except the stock tables and baseball box scores. Press accounts are useful as hints—they tell you where to look to do your own research—but they are useless for drawing informed conclusions.

    Error has multiple causes. Sometimes reporters are biased. But sometimes they are just lazy, preferring to crib from press releases and similar documents that seek to control how news is reported. When reporters rely on live sources, they are especially vulnerable to spin. Reporters are never more vulnerable than when sources seek them out, rather than the other way around.

    Scientists are most susceptive to error when their experiments yield results that confirm their expectations. The same can be said for reporters, who regardless of ideology lack skepticism about stories that fits their prior narrative.

    In short, they are no different from the rest of us. We are all susceptible to this temptation. Conversely, it is when the data do not conform to our prior expectations or our ideologies that we practice healthy skepticism.

  3. Thanks for the backgrounder. Basically in this day and age, anything like this is automatically a slime job, unless they can point to an explicit use as in very, very recently. Likewise, the race card means bupkus and to me reflects badly on the person wielding it.

  4. The Paula Deen controversy has received tremendous publicity. That publicity has consisted of intentionally limited information designed to exacerbate public disapproval.

    The altar of political correctness needs its sacrificial victims, otherwise how else to keep the meme alive that America remains a fundamentally racist country? The memes of “white privilege” and ‘subtle discrimination’ must, from time to time, be supported to keep alive arguments for affirmative action and other forms of reverse discrimination.

  5. Anyone over the age of 50 who says they never used the “N” word is a bald faced liar or a mute. You can find the word used quite often in any number of the great works of western literature and especially in the “Flashman” series of comedic historical fiction – which I assume must now be banned and anyone owning the books relegated to non person status.

    Thank you 1st amendment! Without you the guillotine would be operation night and day during the present mob insanity.

    1. Nope… never did… never will. It was forbidden in my home. My father was adamant. He was a soldier and served with superlative black men for whom he had the utmost respect both professionally and personally. I was a kid in the 1960’s so “forbidden” was often attached to a punctuation device known as “Dad’s belt”.

      My father was introduced to raw racism when he moved to Hawaii in February 1950, where he was a “Haole” and an extreme minority in his St Louis College high school class. According to my grandfather, by spring, he’d been in so many fights that the Marist Brothers who ran the school were threatening to kick him out. The only thing that saved him was a bandy Irish brother from Chicago, who went to bat for him, and took Dad under his wing. Of course he never started the fights, but I can guarantee you that he finished every single one.

      So, at an age that I could understand, and because I lost a friend because my best buddies were black… My old man took me aside, and warned me…”I’ve been on the short end of the stick… Never talk about another human being like.. (bigotted boy’s name inserted here).. You are never, ever, ever to use the sort of language that he used… ever!”

      My friends’ were my football buddies, their father served in Vietnam with my father, and he taught me how to play chess. That family will remain in my heart forever… and their color is completely superfluous.

      Sorry to blow your theory.. but you have now encountered one person who has not used that word, and absolutely will NEVER use it.

      When you are 14 and a half year old Navy Junior farmboy from Kansas; have moved to a stunningly beautiful place with a dark underside… and a huge ethnic native kid comes up to you, punches you in the shoulder, and asks “Hey Haole! You likee beef?” He isn’t asking you if you wanna go out for a burger and fries. You teach your son about the experience, because you realize that he’s going to run into it, too.


  6. The outrage of the left, the media and big corporations (but I repeat myself) against ancient indiscretions is quite relativistic and hypocritical. Paula Deen gets ruined. Senator “Sheets” Byrd got highways and large public buildings named after him.

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