Lisa Jackson, a former manager at restaurants owned by Paula Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers, has spoken through her attorneys about the racism controversy surrounding Deen. In a statement provided to CNN, White said that the attention over Deen’s use of the “n-word”, brought to light in her deposition in the civil suit brought by White, is missing the greater point of her charges.
“This lawsuit has never been about the N-word,” Jackson says in the statement. “It is to address Ms. Deen’s patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior.”
Deen has challenged White’s charges of racial discrimination and her right to bring them in a civil suit due to the fact that White herself never experienced any racial discrimination. She is white. Deen’s attorneys have referenced the principle of “standing” – that a plaintiff in a civil case must demonstrate that they were personally injured by the defendants behavior, not just witness to others’ injuries. They cite the recent SCOTUS decision to not even hear arguments relating to California’s Prop 8 appeal due to lack of standing on the part of the challengers.
White’s statement addressed her position regarding the racial discrimination, saying, “I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of Mr. Hier’s despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about all races, and that is why I feel it is important to be the voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs.”
Whether a civil court determines that being the voice for others is enough to constitute standing remains to be seen. What is sure is that Paula Deen has lost millions of dollars in business, endorsement deals and publishing since her statements in deposition became public. Lisa Jackson may or may not ever see any money from the case, but her charges have hit their target right where it hurts nonetheless.