A transcript of Paula Deen's deposition has made its way online and in it the Food Network star discusses her use of the N-word.
Mr. Billips: Miss Deen, have you told racial jokes?
Paula Deen: No, not racial.
Okay. Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
Yes, of course.
Okay. In what context?
Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
Okay. And what did you say?
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.
Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
Well, then, when did you use it?
Probably in telling my husband.
Okay. Have you used it since then?
I'm sure I have, but it's been a very long time.
Can you remember the context in which you have used the N-word?
Had it occurred with sufficient frequency that you cannot recall all of the various context in which you've used it?
Well, then, tell me the other context in which you've used the N-word?
I don't know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.
Like a joke?
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.
Deen, also, clarifies the alleged plantation-style weddings she was involved with, including details about the waitstaff dressed as slaves.
Okay. So was Lisa ever present when you discussed with Brandon what kind of wedding you'd like to have?
I don't recall that. I recall — I do recall, once again, in my bathroom at that house, and why we would have been in the bathroom, I was probably filming and changing clothes, that's the only reason why we would have been in that bathroom, they must have run out during my lunch break or something from filming, and I remember us talking about the meal. And I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I'm wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret.
The media might misinterpret it?
Yes, or whomever –
— is so shallow that they would read something into it.
No, they were dressed in white jackets.
And a bow tie?
And a bow tie and black trousers, and they were incredible.
Okay. And you said something –
These were men that had made their living off of service and people in a restaurant.
It was – I was so impressed.
Okay. And they were all black men?
Yes. Professional servers and waiters.
And when you described it to Miss Jackson, did you mention the race of – well, you had to have mentioned the race of the servers –
Of course I would –
—because that's the part that –
—because that's what we just experienced.
Right. Do you know what word you used to identify their race?
I would have used just what I just told you.
Black or African-American?
Black. I would use the word black.
I don't usually use African-Americans.
I try to go with whatever the black race is wanting to call themselves at each given time. I try to go along with that and remember that.
She describes the type of jokes used in her kitchens and in her home.
Okay. And could you give me an example of how you have demonstrated for them a nice way to use the N-word?
Or a non-mean way?
We hear a lot of things in the kitchen. Things that they — that black people will say to each other. If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we're discussing, that's not said in a mean way.
What about jokes, if somebody is telling a joke that's got —
It's just what they are, they're jokes.
Okay. Would you consider those to be using the N word in a mean way?
That's — that's kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don't know. I didn't make up the joke, I don't know. I can't — I don't know.
They usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don't know — I just don't know what to say. I can't, myself, determine what offends another person.
Okay, well —
I can feel out that person pretty good on what would offend them, but I'm not sure…what — what the question even means.
Well, if you were sitting around at home just with you and your family, would you feel any hesitation in telling a joke that you thought was funny if it had the N-word in it?
I don't tell jokes, not at my house. That's —
Do the other members of your family tell jokes at home?
And they told jokes using the N-word?
I'm sure they have. My husband is constantly telling me jokes.
Okay. And have — are you offended at all by those jokes?
No, because it's my husband.
Okay. What about your brother, does he tell those jokes?
I'm sure he has. Bubba's not good at joke telling, but I'm sure he's tried to repeat some.
Okay. He just does it badly?
Yeah, he don't — he doesn't tell 'em good.
Barry Weiner will ruin a funny joke. You know, some people can tell jokes in a funny way and some can't.
Okay. And would you consider telling jokes, racial jokes, to be an example of using the N-word in a way that's not mean?
Not for me personally. It would not —
It wouldn't be mean for you personally?
No, it's wouldn't — I wouldn't tell it.
I mean, that's — that's not my style of joke.
And lastly, she explains where she draws the line on harassment in the work place.
Okay. Your style of joke generally has some sexual component to it; is that fair?
Yeah, lots of times.
I poke fun at myself and other women.
Now, do you have, in your own mind, kind of a working definition of what sexual harassment in the workplace would mean?
I think I do.
Okay. Tell me what your definition of sexual harassment would be.
I would think coming on to a person. I would think holding one back because of their sex.
You mean holding them back in their job?
Oh, no, that — that would be discrimination. But I would think just coming on to someone or — I don't know.
I've never experienced it in y business. I've never been the recipient or the giver of it, so I just think I know in my head.
I think I would recognize it if I saw it.
What about racial harassment?
We don't tolerate that.
Okay. Well, what is it in your mind?
I would think that — racial discrimination, was that the question?
Harassment. I would think that that would be picking out a certain race and never cutting them any slack. I don't know, verbally abusing them, maybe, I'm not sure.
Okay. Using racial slurs in a workplace, would you —
To them. If you were doing it against a Jewish person and constantly talking about — bad mouthing Jews or lesbians or homosexuals or Mexicans or blacks, if you continually beat up on a certain group, I would think that that would be some kind of harassment.
I don't know. We don't — we don't do that, I don't know.
You can read the full transcript here.
(Transcript uploaded by Talking Points Memo)