A federal judge in Georgia threw out the discrimination claims against Paula Deen on Monday in a lawsuit that sparked widespread criticism, led sponsors to jump ship and the Food Network to drop her show.
"Lisa Jackson sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, last year saying she suffered from sexual harassment and racially offensive talk and employment practices that were unfair to black workers during her five years as a manager of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House. Deen is co-owner of the restaurant, which is primarily run by her brother.
"But claims of race discrimination by Jackson, who is white, were gutted in the 20-page opinion by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. The judge agreed with lawyers for Deen and Hiers that Jackson has no standing to sue her former employers for what she claims was poor treatment of black workers, regardless of her claims that she was offended and placed under additional stress.
"Jackson, at best, 'is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination,' Moore said in his ruling. 'There are no allegations that defendant Hiers's racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her.'"
The sexual harassment part of the suit survives.
As we've reported, however, the controversy for Deen came after a transcript of a deposition in the case became public.
In it, she admitted that she used racially offensive language and mused about planning a party with a Southern plantation theme.