Paula Deen has come under fire for allegedly using racial slurs in the past, but according to her lawyer, she’s not a racist.
“Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable,” her lawyer, Bill Franklin, told ABC News in a prepared statement. “She is looking forward to her day in court.”
The celebrity chef and her brother are being sued for racial and sexual discrimination by Lisa Jackson, a former manager of their restaurant. According to The Associated Press, in a court deposition filed Monday in federal court, Jackson’s attorney asked Deen, 66, if she’d ever used the N-word. She allegedly responded, “Yes, of course.”
Deen reportedly added that she likely used the derogatory term decades ago, when a black man put a gun to her head during a bank robbery.
Deen became a household name through her shows on the Food Network, “Paula’s Best Dishes” and “Paula’s Home Cooking.”
In a statement to ABC News, the network said it is keeping an eye on Deen’s legal situation.
“Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion,” said a Food Network spokeswoman. “We will continue to monitor the situation.”