More racially charged allegations have come out involving Paula Deen, despite (or perhaps because of?) rescheduling to appear on the Today show later this week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that more current and former employees have come forward with stories showing how former Food Networkperson and her brother have discriminated against black employees. Civil rights coalition Rainbow/PUSH said in a recent press release that it has found evidence of systemic racial discimination and harassment" by the siblings, and that a black cook has even been "consistently referred" to as my little monkey."
After conducting interviews in Savannah, Georgia (home of Deen's now-empty restaurant Lady and Sons), coalition attorney Robert Patillo said current and former employees told him white employees are routinely paid more than black employees and also promoted more quickly. Deen also allegedly "preferred white and light-skinned blacks to work with customers" and relegated darker-skinned blacks to "back-of-the-house operations."
Over at Radar Online, former Uncle Bubba's oyster cook Sheldon J. Ervin says that he helped staff several parties ("I spent so much time there I could go there today and punch in the code to her gate.") at her Savannah estate for two years without pay. Instead, he says, "She just gave us beer and alcohol for working all those days ... I don't even drink. It was insulting and unfair. I was like, 'Pay me!'"
Additionally, it appears that Deen didn't just consider having all-black-server, Southern plantation-style parties; they seem to have actually happened. For one particular graduation party, Deen required Ervin and "three to five other African American men" to wear black slacks, black shoes and a "white chef jacket with a hat," even though "it was burning hot outside." Apparently "Miss Paula insisted," and gave the men money to buy the clothes if they couldn't afford it themselves. Ervin recalls:
Paula had us all stationed at a few shady spots in the yard. She wanted us all to stay in one spot. We weren't allowed to move. They didn't want us to interact or anything. They just wanted us to sit there and serve everyone and not say anything.
· Deen employees tell Rainbow/PUSH of alleged discrimination [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
· Paula Deen Ex-Staffer Reveals 'Insulting, Unfair' Treatment [Radar Online via Jezebel]
· All Paula Deen Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All PaulaDeenGate Coverage on Eater [-E-]