Here's that racist Paula Deen deposition you've been waiting for. Yesterday the National Enquirer dropped that they'd seen a video of Paula Deen giving a deposition in which she claimed, among other things, that "of course" she has used the "N-word" and that she'd considered a wedding with all black servers, southern plantation style. A transcript of that deposition has shown up online, and while it's not quite what the Enquirer made it out to be — the wedding was her brother's, for starters — it certainly is going to be controversial. Below, the pertinent parts of the 150+ page transcript, in which Deen discusses her usage of the N-word, racist (and sexist) jokes, and the now-infamous wedding concept.
Update 06/21: Paula Deen responded to the racist testimony in a video statement saying, "Please forgive me."
On Using the N-Word
Miss Deen, have you told racial jokes?
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.
Are you aware that your brother has admitted to using that word at work?
I don't know about that.
I'm not sure about that.
Are you aware of employees, or former empoyees, of Uncle Bubba's who have testified that he frequently used the N-word to refer to staff?
[tape goes off the record following an objection]
Miss Deen, earlier in your testimony you indicated that one of the things that you had tried to — that you and your husband tried to teach your children was not to use the N-word in a mean way, do you recall that testimony?
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.
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.
On Plantation Style Weddings
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.
Were they dressed in white shorts and bow ties?
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.
Okay. So is there any reason that you could not have done something just like that but with people of different races?
Well, that's what made it.
That's what made it so impressive. These were professional. I'm not talking about somebody that's been a waiter for two weeks. I'm talking about these were professional middle-aged men, that probably made a very, very good living –
at this restaurant. They were trained. The – it – it was the whole picture, the setting of the restaurant, the servers, their professionalism.
Is there any reason you couldn't have found middle-aged professional servers who were of different races?
Listen, it was not important enough to me to even fight, to reproduce what that restaurant had. I was just simply expressing an experience that my husband and I had, and I was so impressed.
Did you describe it as a – that that would be a true southern wedding,words to that effect?
I don't know.
Do you recall using the words "really southern plantation wedding"?
Yes, I did say I would love for Bubba to experience a very southern stylewedding, and we did that. We did that.
Okay. You would love for him to experience a southern style plantation wedding?
That's what you said?
Well, something like that, yes. And –
Okay. And is that when you went on to describe the experience you had at the restaurant in question?
Well, I don't know. We were probably talking about the food or – we would have been talking about something to do with service at the wedding, and –
Is there any possibility, in your mind, that you slipped and used the word "n----r"?
No, because that's not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job.
Why did that make it a – if you would have had servers like that, why would that have made it a really southern plantation wedding?
Well, it – to me, of course I'm old but I ain't that old, I didn't live back in those days but I've seen the pictures, and the pictures that I've seen, that restaurant represented a certain era in America.
And I was in the south when I went to this restaurant. It was located in the south. Okay. What era in America are you referring to?
Well, I don't know. After the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War.
Right. Back in an era where there were middle-aged black men waitingon white people.
Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.
Sure. And before the Civil War – before the Civil War, those black men and women who were waiting on white people were slaves, right?
Yes, I would say that they were slaves.
But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism.
The Full Transcript
Update 06/21: Paula Deen responded to the racist testimony in a video statement saying, "Please forgive me."
· Paula Deen On Her Dream 'Southern Plantation Wedding' [Talking Points Memo]
· Deen Allegedly Admits Disturbing Racism in Deposition [-E-]
· All Paula Deen Coverage on Eater [-E-]