Paula Deen Discrimination Suit Settled – Racism, Not [Updated w/ Incredible Statement From Lisa Jackson]

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

paula-deen2_custom-0b30419dbbe077460d439775b6a773a8fdd8c906-s3-c85We’ve been following the discrimination suit brought by an employee of restaurants owned by  food maven Paula Deen. Lisa Jackson, who is Caucasian, claimed that she was subjected to a racially hostile work environment at Deen’s Uncle Bubba’s and The Lady and Sons restaurants. Jackson alleged that Paula Deen’s brother, Bubba,  routinely used derogatory racial epithets and sexually suggestive comments during her working hours as a manager at the restaurant. She also alleged that Deen acquiesced in the treatment and used racist comments herself.  A firestorm of negative publicity formed after Deen’s deposition transcript was leaked to the media in which she admitted using the term “ni**er” many years ago. Deem lost two national cable television shows and a host of endorsements following the story. Her two video apologies did little to assuage the sentiment that she was a racist.

Early this month, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. dismissed the key elements of Jackson’s racial discrimination claim ruling that, as a Caucasian, she could not claim that racial epithets directed against African-Americans resulted in discrimination against her — which does meet both the legal and common sense test.  Jackson did not rule that Jackson’s claims were true merely that IF they were true they still would not meet the test for racial discrimination against her.  Jackson’s other claims for sexual harassment and abusive treatment were still pending until the suit was settled yesterday.

According to the court filings, the parties agreed the dismissal would be “without any award of costs or fees to any party. ”  Meaning Ms. Jackson did not get any  reimbursement of attorney’s fees or litigation costs suggesting she may not have received much, if anything, by way of a financial settlement. Ms Deen released a statement saying  that she believes “in kindness and fairness for everyone. While this has been a difficult time for both my family and myself, I am pleased that the judge dismissed the race claims and I am looking forward to getting this behind me, now that the remaining claims have been resolved.”

Left unexplained are the claims by Jackson and her attorneys that scores of other African-American employees were subjected to the same discriminatory  treatment and who wouldn’t be subjected to the prohibition to sue imposed by the law against Jackson who is white. Nor have any complaints been filed by the Rainbow/PUSH  organization who say their investigation has “found evidence of systemic racial discrimination and harassment” by Deen and that “a family member consistently referred to a black cook as ‘my little monkey.'”

The net result is that a self-made celebrity chef has been brought low by unproven allegations of racial discrimination and subjected to vilification usually reserved for mass murderers simply based on comments she admitted she made decades ago. If there truly are people out there with bona fide claims of racial discrimination against Paula Deen they should bring them on and not hide in the shadows releasing dribbles and drabs of allegations through civil rights organization spokespersons.  Anonymous statements, lurid narratives, and innuendo are not proof and guilt rendered by character assassination is not law.

Paula Deen may be an unjustified victim of a media fueled racial divisiveness and unwarranted rage or she may be a closet racist with much to hide. Despite all this turmoil and public fall from grace we simply do not know. What we do know is that she –as any accused citizen — deserves  the benefit of the doubt until the allegations are proven. Sadly, this recent episode proves only that we have a long way to go in our national struggle with racism and  that trial by newspaper and leaked court documents to leverage money settlements will not aid us one iota in ridding the country of the scourge of racism.

In fact, rush to judgment situations such as this only gives hate groups ammunition as they always contend that progressives and the news media are habitually harping on racism claims that, in their view, do not now exist, unless, of course, it’s reverse racism.  The blame the left-wing media for hyping these claims for profit and fostering the reverse discrimination. Here’s one comment we can print from a white supremacist site:

They’re at it again, folks! Another successful White entrepreneur goes down in flames, over supposed “racist” jokes, and the use of “the n” word. The food network fired Paula today, over these supposed “racist” jokes. Apparently, quite a few years back, Paula was joking about hiring all black waiters or something. I’m really sick of seeing successful White people ruined/destroyed, because of these jealous/lazy/White hating savages. These are the same hypocrites eating her food, watching her shows, using her cookware, and buying her books. No, I’m not a Paula Deen fan, but, she’s older/White and from the South. So, it’s hardly a surprise that suddenly, she’s now labeled a “racist.” I suppose now, she’ll be making her rounds on all the liberal talk shows, getting grilled by the slew of “anti-racists'” on the daytime television circuit. It’s pretty scary/disgusting, seeing how much power blacks have over White America, now. How they can blatantly destroy someone’s life and career just like that, is absolutely frightening. How much longer are we gonna sit back, letting these thug creeps run wild on White America?

For a lot of our fellow citizens, downtrodden by life and resentful of  America’s social programs, this sadly rings true– whether we like it or not. If we truly want to move past this sad chapter in our history we will have to adopt the seemingly unattainable virtue that Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied in his prescription for fixing  the problem.  That’s going to require “a nation where [one] will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It will also require that we exercise some restraint when judging emotionally charged allegations at the time they are made.  There is always time to see if the those complaining are motivated by principle or greed and this is doubly true when the allegations are against the most lucrative of targets, the rich and famous. Even “they” are entitled to the benefit of  blind and equal justice.

It was the Greek philosopher and playwright Euripides who reminded us that a tree is best judged by its fruit and not its leaves. That was good advice two and a half millennia ago; it’s good advice today.

Source: CNN


From the Huffington Post:

Before the settlement, the magistrate judge found that Lisa Jackson’s lawyer, Matthew Billups, Esq.  had engaged in conduct warranting disqualification. He was accused of using the media to pressure Deen into a settlement by leaking information and asking irrelevant, embarrassing, and personal questions at her deposition.  Here’s the order requiring Billups to show cause why court-ordered sanctions shouldn’t be imposed. Read the order now.

Here’ a post-settlement statement from Lisa Jackson singing quite a different tune now that the case is settled to what she called her “satisfaction”:

“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.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. I wish Ms. Deen and her family all the best in all of their future endeavors and I am very pleased that this matter has been now been resolved and can now be put behind us.” [emphasis mine]

Principle or greed? Do tell there, princess. Do tell.

But a more important question: Where does Paula Deen go to get her reputation back?

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

112 thoughts on “Paula Deen Discrimination Suit Settled – Racism, Not [Updated w/ Incredible Statement From Lisa Jackson]”

  1. bigfatmike:

    I see what you are saying and agree that in a small isolated economy it would hurt some businesses which those engineers patronized. But in the economy in general, the loss of a couple of engineers wages being offset by the increased income of the boss would have no net affect one way or the other.

    In a healthy economy those engineers would find other employment or retrain and start another career. Capital is always going to try and find cheaper labor or faster service or a better product depending on circumstance.

  2. nick,

    A discussion on white privilege creates discomfort in white people so let’s ignore it and talk about class structure instead.

    The power of white privilege depends on invisibility and that’s exactly how the invisibility remains intact.

  3. Speaking of the upper crust of Americans who worked their butts off to get where they are today:

    Taxpayer Dollars Paid A Third Of Richest Corporate CEOs: Report
    By zach Carter & Katherine Burkhart
    Posted: 08/28/2013

    “We take a disciplined approach for determining compensation based on four principles: pay for performance, promote a culture of risk management that avoids unnecessary or excessive risk taking, attract and retain highly qualified executives with competitive pay, and align executives’ interests with those of stockholders,” Wells Fargo spokesman Michael McCoy said.

    “Sky-high CEO pay purportedly reflects the superior value that elite chief executives add to their enterprises and the broader U.S. economy,” IPS wrote. “But our analysis reveals widespread poor performance within America’s elite CEO circles. Chief executives performing poorly — and blatantly so — have consistently populated the ranks of our nation’s top-paid CEOs over the last two decades.”

  4. I’m also guessing that Dolce Vita would rather sell three meals a month to eleven people than eight meals a month to one.

  5. To what situation, Bron?

    I already explained the problem and the fact that wages paid overseas are spent overseas. Or don’t you understand the concept of volume and what constitutes a domestic economy?

  6. Gene H:

    you dont have an answer to this situation. It is pretty pitiful actually.

  7. bigfatmike:

    of course it is leaving out a lot. All I am saying is that there is a net gain to the economy through spending or investing. Money saved in a bank is being used to make loans even if it isnt invested in the stock market or some other investment.

    All money not put under a mattress is used in the economy. Actually it is really better to invest the money because consumption does not grow economies. You need production first before you can consume. If you eat the chicken, you cannot have eggs and more chickens.

    You seem to assume that the economy is a 0 sum game. If someone wins then they do so at the expense of others. That isnt the way it works. Some people win big, take Steve Jobs, but typically they benefit society in many ways even if profit was their motivation.

    I love my Iphone and could care less if Steve Jobs is a billionaire, he benefited me and millions of others.

    1. “You seem to assume that the economy is a 0 sum game.”

      Actually no.

      Your analysis “The net result is the same. …Dolce Vita …still serves 8 meals a month.” seems to express, if not rely, on the concept of ‘zero sum’ in the equality of what the US engineers loose and what the owners gain.

      But what ever the fine points of your argument, my whole point is that it makes a big difference how we divide up the income pie precisely because it is unlikely that what the US engineers loose will be exactly made up by what the owners gain. My remarks definitely do not rely on or express the concept of ‘zero sum’.

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