Two weeks after celebrity chef Paula Deen was dropped by the Food Network, all of her major sponsors have cut ties with her.
Deen's troubles came after she admitted in a legal deposition to using the "n-word." That deposition came in a lawsuit against her brother, Bubba Heirs. Lisa Jackson, former manager of Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment in the suit.
Over the past two weeks, WTOC has spoken with three people who worked at Uncle Bubba's while Jackson managed the restaurant. One of them is black. Two are white. All three worked there for more than two years. They had very different opinions about whether the working environment was hostile or racist. So far, only one of those people has been willing to go on camera.
"I don't believe it at all," said former server Chris Lanier. "Their two highest-paid employees there are both black, their general manager and their kitchen manager. So to say she's a complete racist is bizarre."
Lanier Heirs as an affable joker and said he's never seen any evidence of racism in him either.
Asked about specific allegations in Jackson's complaint, that white and black employees had to use separate restrooms, Lanier said, "Employees were allowed to go to the front bathroom or the back bathroom. Everyone was encouraged to go to the bathroom so the stalls were open for customers instead of employees."
Of Jackson's assertion that employees used separate entrances depending on their race...
"That's not true," Lanier said. "Everyone came in the front and back door. Yet again, they asked everyone to come in the back door for customers' sake so we won't be clogging up the doorways or doing anything foolish on the walkways."
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