The Attempted Extortion of Paula Deen
The real story behind the Paula Deen scandal can be summed up in a single word: greed. The American judicial system and the media are being used as formidable weapons in a brazen attempt to extort money from Ms. Deen, in my opinion.
This isn't a story about racism. It's all about the money.
The mainstream media have reported with glee only some of the gory details as Paula Deen's financial empire continue to crumble. The Food Network, Wal-Mart, Target, and the publisher of her bestselling cookbook all have abruptly terminated their relationship with Ms. Deen. The firestorm erupted after it was widely reported that Ms. Deen gave a deposition in a civil lawsuit in which she admitted using the N-word.
Rarely if ever mentioned by the national press is the context in which the word was used, or the reason the deposition became public knowledge.
No one is interested in defending the use of that particular word, including this writer.
But for the record, the specific instance in which Ms. Deen admitted to using that specific word was in the privacy of her own home, used to describe a robber who had pointed a gun at her head. The mainstream media also doesn't seem to care that Ms. Deen could easily have lied about that specific incident, yet chose to tell the truth under oath.
Apparently there's a zero tolerance policy when certain people use the forbidden N-word.
Never mind that the epithet was uttered in privacy, after Ms. Deen had suffered considerable duress of being robbed at gunpoint.
That the usage became public knowledge only when Jackson's attorney began conducting a smear campaign intended to inflict irreparable harm on Ms. Deen's businesses also seems to be irrelevant information to the drive-by media.
The motive for the lawsuit has been made abundantly clear. Plaintiff Lisa T. Jackson wanted $1.25 million dollars that didn't belong to her, so she decided to sue Paula Deen and her brother.
Attorney Wesley Woolf left no doubt about the real motive of the plaintiff in January, when he sent a letter to Deen's attorneys demanding a $1.25 million dollar settlement. Woolf threatened to conduct the negative publicity campaign currently underway, making clear the consequences if their extortion demand was refused when he wrote (emphasis added):
...[the] economic losses they [Ms. Deen and Mr. Hiers] will experience if we are caused to bring this matter to a public forum. ... Exposure of the racist and sexist culture of her corporate and personal life is going to permanently and irreparably damage the value of her brand.
In her deposition, Ms. Jackson was forced to admit that she never heard Paula Deen utter a racial epithet, never knew her to discriminate against an employee based on gender, and never knew Paula Deen to sexually harass anyone.
Both plaintiff and defendant are white, making racial discrimination against Jackson an impossible charge to prove.
That would seem to make the accusations put forth in the lawsuit against Ms. Deen frivolous.
It has not been widely reported outside the local press that Jackson sent Deen and her brother a letter praising and thanking them both, only a few short months before filing suit. In an effusive letter she wrote:
When I came to work for this company, as a person, I felt hopeless. I needed something, some opportunity that could provide me hope as an individual, as a woman, to make it on my own. At 15, homeless, without parents and with a young child, my life was headed in a direction no one could ever assume positive. As you know, I did what I had to do to survive, but it clearly was not the freedom or happiness I ever hoped for... When I started working for Bubba, he gave me an opportunity that allowed me, over time, a freedom I have never experienced. He allowed me, for once in my life to take care of myself and for once, have faith in myself as a person and as a woman to know that I could do it on my own; y'all were my Aunt Peggy... I have been given opportunities that I never thought possible, all because of you and Bubba.
The person who wrote that letter now wants $1.25 million dollars? For what?
Let's forget for a moment that Quentin Tarantino and Chris Rock have both made a lot of money using that same word with recklessness and impunity, all under the guise of artistic license.
Obviously, the word isn't strictly verboten.
But the really interesting question is this: who profits from Ms. Deen's admitted use of the word, nearly thirty years ago?
There is a reason she was included in the lawsuit. She has the deepest pockets for Ms. Jackson to pick, using the legal system and the media to do her dirty work.
Obviously, this isn't a case about seeking justice.
It's about character assassination and Lisa T. Jackson's shameless grab for $1.25 million dollars.
How much do you think that will cost her?