Paula Deen’s Aunt Jemima EmployeeBy: Mike Tuttle - July 25, 2013
Just when you thought Paula Deen’s troubles were over. The news had moved on to other things: George Zimmerman not guilty; George Zimmerman rescues family; royal family welcomes baby; Anthony Weiner’s woes; kids poisoned in India lunchroom. Hey, Paula even had a few small checkmarks in the plus column. A group of fans were striking back at those companies that dropped her. And some of her black friends were riding to her rescue, telling the public that she treated them just fine.
But misery loves company. And now another employee of Deen’s has come forward with stories that really color Deen up with more semi-racist-sounding behaviors.
This time, according to the New York Times, it is one Dora Charles, a woman who ran Deen’s kitchens for 22 years. Deen claimed affection for Charles, and gave her a lot of responsibility within her restaurants. She once said that nothing left that kitchen without Charles’ approval.
But Charles says that Deen has offended her on occasion. Reportedly, she asked Charles to ring a dinner bell in front of the restaurant, yelling for folks to “come and get it”. Charles says she refused.
“I said, ‘I’m not ringing no bell,’ ” Mrs. Charles said. “That’s a symbol to me of what we used to do back in the day.”
Charles said Deen wanted her to dress in an outfit that looked like Aunt Jemima. She says that Deen told her, “Stick with me, Dora, and I promise you one day if I get rich you’ll get rich.”
But now Deen is a multi-millionaire. And Charles has been working for $10 an hour for over 20 years. Now she has a bad shoulder and lives in a trailer.
Paula Deen’s publicity team issued a statement about Charles accusations.
“Fundamentally Dora’s complaint is not about race but about money. It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen. ”