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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Paula Deen: Judge Cripples Fraudulent "Racial Discrimination" Lawsuit, but Ballantine Books Cripples Deen!

 

Judge tosses race discrimination charge against Paula Deen

By Alan Duke

updated 6:32 PM EDT, Monday August 12, 2013

CNN

 

In the wake of the recent deposition in which Paula Deen admitted to using racially charged language, many sponsors and partners have re-evaluated their relationship with the embattled chef. Deen's 15th cookbook, "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up," was set to release in October 2013. The book shot to the top of Amazon's pre-order list, but has now been <a href='http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/06/28/paula-deens-upcoming-cookbook-cancelled/'>canceled by Ballantine Books</a>. In the wake of the recent deposition in which Paula Deen admitted to using racially charged language, many sponsors and partners have re-evaluated their relationship with the embattled chef. Deen's 15th cookbook, "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up," was set to release in October 2013. The book shot to the top of Amazon's pre-order list, but has now been canceled by Ballantine Books.

Food Network was the first partner to drop Deen, announcing that after 11 years, it would not renew her contract when it expired at the end of the month. Deen had three shows on the network and <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/21/showbiz/paula-deen-racial-slur'>released a statement </a>saying in part: "I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories. ...This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of ya'll."Food Network was the first partner to drop Deen, announcing that after 11 years, it would not renew her contract when it expired at the end of the month. Deen had three shows on the network and released a statement saying in part: "I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories. ...This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of ya'll."

<a href='http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/06/24/smithfield-foods-drops-paula-deen/'>Smithfield Foods terminated its relationship with the TV chef</a>, saying: "Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. ... Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned." Deen became a spokeswoman for Smithfield, the country's largest producer of pork products, in 2006.Smithfield Foods terminated its relationship with the TV chef, saying: "Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. ... Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned." Deen became a spokeswoman for Smithfield, the country's largest producer of pork products, in 2006.

Deen was a paid spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk, the company that makes the diabetes drug Victoza. The relationship <a href='http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/01/17/paula-deen-confirms-that-she-has-type-2-diabetes-unveils-partnership-with-drug-company/'>came under fire from fans</a> when it was revealed that Deen had known of her own diabetes diagnosis while still promoting fatty, sugary recipes on air and in print. The company announced that it is suspending its relationship with Deen.Deen was a paid spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk, the company that makes the diabetes drug Victoza. The relationship came under fire from fans when it was revealed that Deen had known of her own diabetes diagnosis while still promoting fatty, sugary recipes on air and in print. The company announced that it is suspending its relationship with Deen.

QVC features the <a href='http://www.qvc.com/Paula-Deen-Kitchen-&amp;-Food.category.0102.html?refine=1001299+4294966886&amp;cm_re=BRAND-_-Paula+Deen-_-BYALPHABET&amp;cm_sp=BRANDLINKS-_-BRANDS-AZ-_-Paula+Deen' target='_blank'>Paula Deen's Kitchen</a> line of products, including cookware, bakeware and cookbooks. A spokesperson for the brand said: "Paula won't be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts, and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months." QVC features the Paula Deen's Kitchen line of products, including cookware, bakeware and cookbooks. A spokesperson for the brand said: "Paula won't be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts, and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months."

Caesar's Entertainment Corporation, which operated four Paula Deen-branded restaurants at its casinos, announced that it is severing ties with the chef. Deen still maintains a flagship restaurant, The Lady & Sons, as well as Uncle Bubba's Oyster House (named for her brother Earl "Bubba" Hiers), both in Savannah, Georgia.

World's largest retailer Walmart cut ties with Deen, saying, "While we appreciate Paula's sincere apologies for statements she made in her past ... we have mutually decided that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways at this time."

Sears Holding Corp., the parent company of both Sears and Kmart, said in a statement: "After careful consideration of all available information, we have made the decision to phase out all products tied to the brand. We will continue to evaluate the situation." Both stores carried cookware under the Deen brand.

Home Depot and Target have both announced that they will <a href='http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/27/news/companies/paula-deen-home-depot-target-diabetes/index.html'>stop carrying Paula Deen-branded</a> kitchen and cookware items and phase out existing inventory.Home Depot and Target have both announced that they will stop carrying Paula Deen-branded kitchen and cookware items and phase out existing inventory.

Hoffman Media publishes the bimonthly Cooking with Paula Deen magazine, which boasts circulation of nearly 1,000,000, according to <a href='http://www.pauladeen.com/paula' target='_blank'>Deen's website</a>.Hoffman Media publishes the bimonthly Cooking with Paula Deen magazine, which boasts circulation of nearly 1,000,000, according to Deen's website.

In 2008, B. Lloyd's nut company announced a multiyear partnership with Deen. The celebrity chef develops and promotes recipes for the brand.

Gobo Seafood sells Paula Deen Southern Dishes -- like Savannah crab cakes, seafood dip, seafood stews, crab stuffed seafood, fried shrimp, and catfish -- at grocery stores nationwide. The relationship began in 2009 and recipes are adapted from Deen's popular dishes at The Lady & Sons restaurant.

Fans can enjoy a Paula Deen-themed vacation at the chef's beach house, the "<a href='http://bookings.mermaidcottages.com/Unit/Details/39370' target='_blank'>Y'all Come Inn</a>" on Tybee Island, near Savannah, Georgia. Perks include "VIP Guaranteed reservations" at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House and The Lady &amp; Sons restaurant and a personalized Paula Deen cookbook.Fans can enjoy a Paula Deen-themed vacation at the chef's beach house, the "Y'all Come Inn" on Tybee Island, near Savannah, Georgia. Perks include "VIP Guaranteed reservations" at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House and The Lady & Sons restaurant and a personalized Paula Deen cookbook.

Fans can sail to the Caribbean on Celebrity Cruises' Reflection for a week-long jaunt with the embattled chef. Demand for Paula Deen Cruises has been so high, a second one has been added for 2014, according to Alice Travel, which hosts the venture.

Kaleen Rugs licensed a collection of Paula Deen Comfort Rugs, which debuted in 2008. The line has since been discontinued.

At the end of 2012, Serta discontinued its line of Paula Deen Home-branded mattresses.

For two seasons, Kraft Foods' "Real Women of Philadelphia" campaign employed Deen as the celebrity host of a contest for home cooks who shared cooking videos featuring the brand's signature cream cheese. Kraft has not worked with Deen since early 2012.

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

·         NEW: Judge rules Lisa Jackson can't sue for race discrimination because she is white

·         NEW: "At best, plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination," judge writes

·         Deen "believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone," her rep says

·         The celeb chef's career went into a tailspin after her deposition in the lawsuit was released

(CNN) -- A federal judge has dismissed the racial discrimination claims in a lawsuit filed by a former employee against Paula Deen, the celebrity chef's representative said Monday.

 

The former employee can't claim to be a victim of racial discrimination targeting African-American workers because she is white, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled. "At best, plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination," Moore wrote.

 

Other aspects of the lawsuit, including sexual harassment and abusive treatment, are still pending.

 

"We are pleased with the Court's ruling today that Lisa Jackson's claims of race discrimination have been dismissed," Deen's representatives said in a statement to CNN. "As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone."

 

Paula Deen -- From the frying pan to the firestorm

 

Deen's career and public reputation went into a tailspin earlier this summer after her deposition in the lawsuit, in which she admitted using the n-word in the past, was released. Dean has insisted she does not tolerate prejudice, but her apologies have failed to suppress the controversy.

 

[N.S.: "Public reputation"? Hardly. If that were so, advanced sales of her new cookbook would have tanked. Now she has to sue Ballantine, self-publish, and enjoy the last laugh.]  

 

Former employee Lisa Jackson alleged in the federal suit that Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five years of employment at The Lady and Sons, and Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, two Savannah, Georgia, restaurants run by Deen and her family.

 

Savannah is where Deen built her business and brand into what many consider the folksy face of Southern cooking.

 

Share your thoughts on the dismissal

 

In the media firestorm that followed, Deen lost lucrative endorsements and her Food Network cooking show, while the publication of her eagerly anticipated cookbook was canceled.

 

Jackson's complaint alleged that a "racially biased attitude prevailed throughout and pervaded defendants restaurant operations," and that African-American staff could use the restaurant's rear entrance only.

 

She claimed that a racist atmosphere caused her "immense personal and work related emotional and physical distress" because "employees came to her complain and for help, which she felt obligated to give but was unable to fully provide."

 

She suffered from the discrimination because "the conduct denies her right to associate in the workplace with persons of other races," the suit said. It deprived her of "harmonious working relationships with her African-American subordinates" and denied her "the right to work free from racial harassment," it alleged.

 

"There are no allegations that defendant Hiers' racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her," the judge ruled.

 

Deen and Hiers still face the sex harassment allegations by Jackson, who began as a hostess at Uncle Bubba's in 2005 and worked her way up to general manager before she was fired in August 2010.

 

The complaint said the company was a "boy's club" with men in management positions, "and women are not invited to take on substantial decision-making roles."

 

Jackson contended that Hiers subjected her to sexual harassment on "an almost daily basis."

 

 

CNN's Jane Caffrey contributed to this report.

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