TMZ has just released a partial transcript of the deposition in which the doyenne of diabetes, celebrity chef Paula Deen, reveals that "of course" she has thrown around racial slurs once or twice in her life. But only when she was talking about a black guy who robbed her. And maybe when repeating something that was said to her. Or maybe when relaying a conversation between black people. Or maybe—Paula Deen doesn't know! Sometimes the N-word just comes up!
According to TMZ's transcript of the filmed deposition, a lawyer asks Deen if she's ever personally used the slur, to which Deen replies "Yes, of course." When pressed to give context, the only incident Deen can specifically recall happens to be a terrifying, emotional one in which she was the victim of a crime at the hands of a black man. In 1986, an armed robber held up the Georgia bank where Deen was working as a teller.
Lawyer: Okay. In what context [did you use the slur]?
Paula: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say?
Paula: Well, I don't remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple ... I didn't — I didn't feel real favorable towards him.
The lawyer then asks Deen if, in a bold and FUCKING CRAZY move, she directed the n-word at a robber while he was holding a gun to her head. Deen clarifies that she used it to describe him only later, when recounting the story to her husband.
Has she used it since then? (In a harassment lawsuit filed against Deen—the reason Deen is giving this deposition in the first place—a former employee alleges she was using it liberally as recently as 2007.)
"I'm sure I have," Deen tells the lawyer, "but it's been a very long time."
When pressed again for the context of these other usages, Deen flails around for a little while (maybe someone said it to me, maybe I heard a black person say it to another black person, maybe maybe maybe maybe) before sticking her landing with a meditation about how the South has changed a lot since the 1960's.
Lawyer: Well, then tell me the other context in which you've used the N-word?
Paula: I don't know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.
Lawyer: Like a joke?
Paula: No, probably a conversation between blacks. I don't — I don't know. But that's just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the '60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.
Things certainly have changed in the South since the 1960s. The last time Deen specifically recalls lobbing an N-bomb was in the latter half of the 80s—and she's sure she's used it since, though she can't specifically recall when—but other things certainly have changed since then. You can no longer burn trash, for instance.
Since word of Deen's deposition leaked this morning, a rep has released the following statement:
"Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.”
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has posted the full transcript of Deen's deposition.
[Transcript h/t Talking Points Memo // Image via Getty]
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