Reverend Al Sharpton chimed in with what seemed like a statement to defend the controversy surrounding Paula Deen.
As we all know, Deen is currently under fire from the media for her admitted use of a racial epithet. And defending her is not a good look … as far as the black community, for the most part, is concerned.
Sharpton’s spokesperson, Rachel Noerdlinger, reached out to The Huffington Post and said her client did not defend Paula Deen, but rather made the point that Deen shouldn’t be judged by something she said 27 years ago.
“There is more current information that is being divulged that we might need to be concerned about,” Noerdlinger added.
This entire ordeal started when Lisa T. Jackson filed a lawsuit against Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers, last year. Jackson claims that as a manager at Deen’s Savannah, Ga. restaurant, she endured sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
During the trial’s deposition, Deen admitted to using the N-word in the past. She also confessed to having planned a “southern plantation-style wedding” with black servers. The deposition was released to the public and caused a series of backlash including Deen being fired by the Food Network and her deal with QVC in jeopardy.
TMZ caught up with Sharpton and asked for his opinion on the controversy.
“A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago,” he replied. “I think she has a lawsuit now about activities now whether it was discriminatory. And whether or not she’s engaged in things now. It’s not about her past. … She deserves what’s fair, but that’s based on what she’s engaged in now.”
“You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago,” he added.
Sharpton’s spokesperson wanted to clarify that his statements were not in support but rather just to push for people to focus on the matters at hand that are more pressing.
As we reported, Bill Maher was another well-known figure to speak up on Paula Deen’s dilemma.
“If you’re 66 years old, and you were raised in Georgia, and you were a child before the civil rights movement, do you get a bit of a pass?” he asked on his show Friday, adding, “I also think that people shouldn’t have to lose their shows and go away when they do something bad. … It’s just a word; it’s a wrong word, she’s wrong to use it. But do we always have to make people go away?”
Pastor Gregory A. Tyson Sr., an African-American pastor at First Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Savannah told the local radio station WTOC that Deen is a friend of his and the black community. He added that using the N-word does not automatically make her a racist.
Deen made a public apology following the aftermath of the testimony leak in a series of three videos. She asked for forgiveness while stating that the press is misjudging her and her family.
She is scheduled to make an appearance on the “Today” show Wednesday, where she will address the public again in an attempt to clear her name. This is her second attempt after missing the “Today” interview last Friday.
Fans used social media to express their distaste towards the Food Network for firing Paula Dean so abruptly, while others displayed their support by gathering at her Savannah restaurant.