Paula Deen Defends Use of N-Word: I 'Was Born 60 Years Ago'

Paula Deen Fox & Friends Christmas Special - H 2013
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Paula Deen Fox & Friends Christmas Special - H 2013

The Food Network chef has come under fire after revealing in a deposition that “of course” she had used the racial epithet.

Paula Deen is defending her use of the N-word, saying things were “quite different” in the South 60 years ago.

In a deposition for her current lawsuit -- in which Deen, 66, and her brother Bubba Heirs are being sued by a former employee -- Deen copped to using the racial epithet in the past, but said she wouldn't use it today.

During her deposition, Deen said that she “of course” had used the N-word before, specifically when telling her husband about a time when “a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.” TMZ notes that the incident in question occurred in 1986.

In a statement released to the media Thursday, Paula Deen Enterprises is defending the Food Network chef’s controversial revelations.

“During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today,” the statement reads. “[Paula] was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today.”

The statement goes on to echo Deen’s sentiments that she “does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination.”

Deen and Heirs are being sued by a former manager of their restaurants in Savannah, Ga. Lisa T. Jackson’s suit claims that Deen and Heir committed multiple acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at Deen’s Lady & Sons and Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House. Deen’s lawyer has called the allegations false.