A federal judge in Georgia has tossed out race discrimination claims by a former Savannah restaurant manager whose lawsuit against Paula Deen ended up causing the celebrity cook to lose nearly all of her culinary empire.
Lisa Jackson sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, last year saying she was subjected to sexual harassment and racist attitudes during the five years she worked at their restaurant, Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.
But U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled Monday that Jackson, who is white, has no standing to sue them for race discrimination.
‘The Court concludes that Plaintiff is not an aggrieved party under Title VII because her interests are not those arguably sought to be protected by that statue,’ wrote Moore. ‘At best, Plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination. There are no allegations that Defendant Hiers’s racially offensive comments were either directed toward Plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her.’
According to TMZ, Jackson tried claiming that she has a biracial person in her family and was thus a victim of Deen’s racist remarks.
The ruling leaves intact Jackson’s sexual harassment claims stemming from her five years as an employee of Uncle Bubba’s and The Lady and Sons in Savannah. Jackson claims Hiers’ and Deen’s conduct—including violent acts, discrimination and racism—led to the end of her employment.
Deen responded to the news Monday afternoon, through her lawyers.
‘We are pleased with the Court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed,’ Deen’s representatives told CNN. ‘As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.’
Meanwhile, Deen has lost a slew of major endorsement, book, and television deals since admitting in a deposition to using racist language.
The embattled TV chef even lost the gig that made her famous as the Food Network chose not to renew Deen’s contract after 11 years with the cable network. Deen lent her culinary talents to three separate shows.
Deen’s 15th cookbook initially shot to the top of Amazon’s pre-order list, but was subsequently cancelled by publisher Ballantine Books.
The disgraced chef also lost deals with Smithfield Foods, QVC, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Sears and others.