Friday, August 23, 2013

Deen Deal

A discrimination and harassment lawsuit against celebrity cook Paula Deen was dismissed today pursuant to a settlement. Deen lost lucrative endorsements and her Food Network cooking show due to the allegations, while the publication of a highly anticipated cookbook was canceled after she said under oath that she had used racial slurs in the past. Filings in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Georgia revealed dismissal of the lawsuit with prejudice, without any award of costs or fees. The dismissal deal came just after Judge William T. Moore threw out the race discrimination claims by a white plaintiff that had no standing to sue over what she said was poor treatment of black workers. Deen’s own words that ended up causing serious damage to her public image and income. The lawsuit was paid little attention for over a year, until the Plaintiffs' lawyer questioned Deen under oath in, asking if she has ever used the N-word. “Yes, of course,” Deen replied, though she added: “It’s been a very long time.” Within a few days, the Food Network didn’t renew Deen’s contract and yanked her shows off the air. Smithfield Foods, the pork producer that paid Deen as a celebrity endorser, dropped her. Retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, would no longer sell Deen’s products. Judge Moore issued an order stating he still plans to hear whether the lead Plaintiff attorney should be sanctioned for what Deen’s lawyers called unprofessional conduct in the case designed for embarrassing media exposure. However, a filing by Deen’s attorneys asked the judge to drop their motion for sanctions. Forbes magazine last year ranked Deen as the fourth-highest-earning celebrity cook last year, figuring she had hauled in $17 million. Her company Paula Deen Enterprises generates total annual revenue of nearly $100 million. See stories here-- and