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Deen's ex-husband: Former employee motivated by greed

ALBANY, Ga. -- As the national media circle the Paula Deen story like sharks who smell blood, Paula's ex-husband Jimmy Deen has found himself caught up in the frenzy, beset by desperate "leeches" looking anywhere for some new tidbit to feed tabloid nation.

"Why didn't these people want to talk to me before this happened?" Jimmy Deen, the father of Paula Deen's celebrity sons, Jamie and Bobby, said today in an exclusive interview with The Albany Herald, a sister paper of the Rockdale Citizen and Newton Citizen. "Now, because they're being shielded from Paula, suddenly I'm the most popular guy in town. Well, I've got nothing to say to them; what I want to say I'm telling you."

Deen said he's been besieged in the wake of the controversy surrounding his celebrity chef ex-wife, who has been dropped by the Food Network and has seen products she endorses taken from shelves at distributers such as Wal-Mart and Target. Paula Deen admitted in a deposition that she had, in the past, used the so-called "n-word" in reference to blacks.

When the deposition was made public last week, the celebrity chef found herself at the center of a mounting controversy that refuses to subside, and her substantial business empire is taking a massive hit. Fuel was added to the fire Wednesday morning when Deen gave an interview with the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. Jimmy Deen chastised Lauer for what Deen called the host's unprofessional interview tactics.

"(Lauer) wasn't interested in hearing Paula's side of the story," Jimmy Deen said. "His agenda obviously was to 'get' Paula, to try and paint a picture of her as this evil, racist woman. And that couldn't be further from the truth. I've said before, and I'll say again. Paula is not racist. We grew up and went to Albany High School during the era of integration, and we never had any kind of problem with that.

"What I would like, by God, is for Matt Lauer to turn that same question he asked Paula around on himself. I'd like for him -- or anybody else on the 'Today' show -- to answer that question under oath."

Jimmy Deen accused Wal-Mart and Target of "convicting Paula without a trial" and of "telling the American public that there are certain people who don't matter."

"They didn't wait to get the entire story; they immediately drew a line in the sand," Deen said of the retailers. "They passed judgment, told American shoppers that they shouldn't buy any of Paula's products. They essentially said they would dictate what products Americans should buy and the hell with what anybody else thought."

Deen said he reached the breaking point when tabloid TV and other media representatives continued to call his home while he and his wife, Therlus, were grieving over the death of his mother-in-law, Edna Luckey.

"These people didn't even have the decency to respect the fact that we were grieving over a death in our family," Deen said.

Deen said he's been in contact with Paula Deen and the couple's two sons, and they're all having difficulty dealing with the fallout from the controversy.

"Paula, Jamie and Bobby ... They're all just heartbroken," he said. "They're devastated that people have been so quick to lay blame on them based on things said by a woman (Lisa Jackson, who accused Paula Deen and her brother, Earl "Bubba" Hiers, of discrimination) whose motivation is greed and money.

"I find it interesting that this woman's original charge was sexual harassment, and when that didn't stick she started crying racism. It's also odd that this woman happens to be white. I think it's pretty clear she was just out to try and take something of somebody else's."

Despite the current uproar, Jimmy Deen said his ex-wife and their two sons will come back.

"It's going to take some time," he said. "They'll have to make some changes; you can't go from a lifestyle of $60 million a year to within three weeks seeing half of that gone and within a month the threat of the rest of it being gone and not make changes. It will be hard for them, but they're going to come through it and be better people for all this.

"These people taking shots at Paula now that she's down, they don't know her. I know her better than anyone in the world; I stood by her side while she was working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pick herself up from nothing and become what she became. It's just not fair that everything she's worked so hard for could be taken away from her over somethinglike this."

As for the planned Albany Paula Deen Museum, which is still in the planning stages, Jimmy Deen said that project is not in jeopardy.

"We will go forward with this project," he said. "I hope and pray the people of Albany will get behind us, help show that people can rise above something like this.

"I hope the people who love and support Paula will let their shopping habits show these companies that have removed her products that they're not going to be influenced by the media and by businesses that have condemned her before they've even heard the truth. I hope they'll go into these stores and ask for Paula Deen items, and if they don't have them I hope they'll ask why.

"Paula, Jamie, Bobby ... everyone's going to get through all this. I just ask the people to pray for us all."

Comments

John 1 year ago

Sorry who really cares - if there income was 60 million a year, I would hope they would have save or invested some of it rather than spend it on a $60 million lifestyle as stated You make your own bed and just go lay in it. Secondly, it is physically and logically impossible for anyone to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (even Superman) even God took a day off - that statement is called an extreme exaggeration.

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henrystamm 1 year ago

Just another distraction from Obama's messing up Washington. The lame street media is instructed to kill anyone that is a conservative and earns a honest living. at the other end is Holder who is instructed to not punish any black racist or anyone that protects Obama despite criminal activities even murder. Sad, but you get who you voted for.

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will 1 year ago

Paula Deen is not a racist people, the press is trying to destroy her because she said the n-word years ago. I'm a black american and I think this lady has said she was wrong and owned up to her mistake, let it go. If you listern to all this rap music the n-word is used almost constantly. If anyone, regardless of race, uses the n-word it is wrong. I listened to the Travon Martin trial the other day and he called Zimmerman a crazy *** cracker and the n-word so why is he not considered a racist, sounds like one to me. If the n-word is not good for white people to say then its not good for black people to say as well. I would like to challenge these companies that have terminated contracts with Paula Deen to ask all of their employees, starting with the CEO, to take a polygraph test and ask one question of them and that is; Have you in the last 30 years every used the N-word? The press starting with Matt Lauer should do the same and if they fail fire them. Support Mrs. Deen and her family by staying away from these businesses that terminated her, she said she was wrong and she was sorry, move on.

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Covingtonian 1 year ago

Will the following is an excerpt from my reply to Darrell Huckaby who wrote an article a few days ago about the Pala Deen lawsuit: I have witheld my views publicly on the Paula Deen situation until I could gather more facts. ... something you should learn to do as well. A google search soon had me reading the 33 page complaint filed with the Chatam county court.(see "Paula Deen Is In Hot Water Y'all: Employment discrimination...") I have only finished the first seventeen pages but that is enough for me to understand why her sponsors are dropping her. I realize that these are only allegations but, they are from a white female former General Manager who served in that position for some five years. Paula's brother Bubba is painted as pretty much out of control, allegedly requiring his afro american employees to come in through the back door for "all purposes" including to pickup their checks and having to use a seperate rest room. He is also painted as a sexual deviant. What I really found to be appalling is that Paula's deragatory statements did not take place twenty or thirty years ago but in this decade. Oh yeah Paula knew or should have known how her brother was running the business within her corporation. Will during slavery time they had what was referred to as "the house "N" who would tell on and boss his fellow slaves for the master also. It was alleged that Bubba Hiers (Paulas brother) once asked his black driver if he didn't wish "that he could rub the black off his skin"? Do you?

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alexander 1 year ago

Huck is from Porterdale. A free meal or a book signing he will dance with the devil.

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will 1 year ago

Covingtonian, This white female is the first complaintant against Mrs. Deen and her brother from what I understand, please correct me if im wrong. As for the black employees having to use the backdoor and separate bathroom, I find that hard to believe. I bet you will find all employees are held to these practices regardless of race. In my businesses all employees are required to enter and exit through the back and I have separate facilities for them as well.Covingtonian do you have a chip on your shoulder against white people, it sounds like that's possible.If people want racism to end they must stop using it as a crutch and stop blaming people for their issues and start looking for a solution to their issues.Slavery of my people was the worst thing this country has ever done and if you look at our government they are keeping my people down now through handouts. What has Obama done to help people of color live the American Dream, not one thing. He just wants to keep them on the handout train to nowhere. Also, I am very proud of MY black skin, its my people who always blame others and not themselves that make me sad. Why have the other employees in this restaurant not made a stand, I think you know that answer.

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Covingtonian 1 year ago

Will, From your reply I can see that you still haven't read the allegations filed with the court.

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will 1 year ago

Covingtonian, Are these Allegations being made by one employee, maybe a disgruntled one at that. Do you think this former employee is trying to make money off Mrs. Deens fame and celebrity? This happens all the time , by the way. Let me ask you this Covingtonian, Have you ever said something that was racially hurtful in the last 10-20 years? If your black that also includes the n-word. Its odd to me that not one of the black employees made a claim, you know if this was really going on that someone would have brought this out way earlier, you cant be that blind.I can assure you in this day and time that this alleged blatant discrimination would not be going on without a black person standing up to it and fighting back..

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Covingtonian 1 year ago

Will, talking with you is like trying to reason with a light pole, I can only wonder what type of business you run and how long have you owned the business? Apparently it hasn't had time to fail yet. As for as my feelings towards people of other races, I have several membes of the caucasian race in my family of both genders. I have white and black friends, one of my closest happens to be a white Male. I have in the past visited their homes and shared meals with them and likewise had them over for meals at my home. I have worked with slept in the same room, used the same bathroom and showers and fought along side them if you include my military career. I was brought up to treat people as I wanted to be treated and to have enough common sense to not group people together based upon skin color or nationalities. There are idiots and biggots of all races.I also realize that without some white folks making sacrifices years ago I could still be enslaved today. Have I ever said something racially hurtful in the past 10-20 years? Yes I recently referred to you as an "Uncle Tom". Einstein if you read the complaint that I have referred to on more than one occassion you would see that the racial accusation alleged against Ms.Deen , the use of the "N" word was in or about 2007.

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Covingtonian 1 year ago

Oh yeah the remark Ms. Deen made "I is what I is" is from a deragatory joke that goes:There was a black guy and a white guy. They were debating over whether god was white or black. The white guy said that there was only one way to find out and that is to pray. So they go up on a hill and they pray, and pray, and pray. Finally they hear a voice say, “I am what I am.” The white guy jumps up, and says, “Aha, I told you he was white.” The black guy jumps up and says, “What do you mean? That didn’t prove anything.” “Yes it did. Because if he was black he would’ve said I is what I is.”

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will 1 year ago

Covingtonian, you said all we need to know about you when you referred to me as an "Uncle Tom". I have been called that many times by my people because I do not lay blame on the evil white man for my laziness and ignorance. As for my businesses, I own 5 all together and they range from consulting to hospitality to a High End clothier in Boston. I have been self employed for over 35 years and have never had a business fail. I have faced tough times in a few but I used my brain not the government to come out of the bad times. Over these 35 years I have purchased and sold 7 businesses and made a very good return. I now have kids that have my same attitude and they have started taking over a few of my business ventures after careers in the public sector. Im very impressed that one of your closest friends is white, I also have white friends. Last but not least if you let the n-word hurt your feelings I suggest getting a thicker skin and stop your brothers and sisters of color from using that word. If its incorrect for one race its incorrect for all races.

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dennistay53 1 year ago

Wonder if the comments Hank Johnson made wednesday about Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas will get as much press as this ? You know where he Clarence Thomas was a traitor for his vote on the voting rights act.

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will 1 year ago

Covingtonian, I'm impressed by you giving Paula Deen the respect she deserves by calling her Ms. Deen. The derogatory joke you mention is a good comparison of how the different races speak, I have to agree with the outcome of the joke because many people of color talk just like that. When my kids were growing up it was a constant battle for my wife and I to explain to the kids that you should speak where people understand you and not use street slang and incorrect grammar. We instilled in them the values of good communication .I have shown several of my employees your reference to" Uncle Tom" as it pertains to me and we have laughed all morning, keep up the good work because it shows us what type of person you are. After reading your comments the consensus was you are a person with a huge chip on your shoulder and several said they bet you voted for Obama because he is black. I would have voted for a black president myself but there was not a qualified black person running.

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Billy 1 year ago

PD is a vastly more a quality person than all the hypocrites that are complaining about her. While public figures ought to know better than say certain words in public, I'd sure like to hear what the hypocrites say in private. Bet it's even worse than anything Paula ever said in her life. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson NOT racists? It's not about equality, it's about black power--always has been. If a simple apology by PD won't do, then you already know there's an agenda; they're not concerned with righting wrongs, but in persecuting and crucifying people. You can rest assured that all the people who had evil motives and actions will answer for it in the next life. Most times, those people also suffer in this life. You reap what you sow; if you sow racism and hypocrisy in an unmerciful way, don't expect fair treatment and blessings in life. The people on the other side are so filled with hate, they probably refuse to admit the above, but if they continue in their evil ways, the Almighty has a present for them. I would not want to be in their shoes when judgment comes...

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