Deen’s legal deposition was conducted last month as part of the 2012 lawsuit filed by Lisa Jackson, who worked at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House. The lawsuit drew scant attention from news outlets until Deen was questioned under oath and her remarks became available to the public in a transcript.
On Saturday, the controversy didn’t keep customers from The Lady & Sons, the restaurant owned by Deen and her sons in Savannah’s downtown historic district.
“If you look at her restaurant here, I don’t think it’s going to hurt her too much,” said Felipe Alexander, an Atlanta trucking company owner, as he waited on the sidewalk for his lunchtime reservation. He also said he didn’t blame the Food Network for cutting Deen loose.
“If the network didn’t want to be associated with somebody who used that word, it has the right to do that,” Alexander said.
The fallout may not end with Food Network. At least two other companies that do business with Deen say they’re keeping a close eye on the controversy. Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which has Deen’s restaurants in some of its casinos, said Friday that it “will continue to monitor the situation.” Publisher Ballantine, which has a new Deen book scheduled to roll out this fall, used similar words.
The heat over Deen’s remarks hasn’t been quite as intense in Savannah, where her success over the past decade has helped raise the coastal Georgia city’s profile as a tourist magnet.
The head of Visit Savannah, the city’s tourism bureau, weighed in on Deen’s plight Saturday on Twitter.
“OK, I’ll do it: what @Paula-Deen did was wrong,” Joe Marinelli, Visit Savannah’s president, tweeted. “But she’s part of our @Savannah family and I’m here to support her.”