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Paula Deen

I Did NOT Dress Up Black Chef Like Aunt Jemima

7/25/2013 8:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0725_PAULA_DEEN_TMZ2Paula Deen is calling BS on a former chef who claims Deen made an African-American employee dress up like Aunt Jemima ... claiming the chef is crying racism in a pathetic money grab.

The woman behind the allegations is Dora Charles -- who ran Deen's kitchens for 22 years and helped open Paula's famous Lady & Sons restaurant in Georgia.

Charles spoke with the New York Times -- and claimed Deen wouldn't just use racial slurs in the kitchens, but wanted to dress up her employees as humiliating stereotypes.

Among the allegations, Charles says Deen tried to make her ring a dinner bell for restaurant customers ... something Charles felt was racially charged.

"That's a symbol to me of what we used to do back in the day," Charles said.

Charles also claims Deen tried to make another black female employee, Ineata Jones, dress up in an "old style Aunt Jemima outfit" while flipping hoecakes at a dining station.

But Deen says ... she's not only confident Charles is making the whole thing up -- but claims on July 6, Jones signed a legal document saying she had never felt discriminated against and never heard Deen spout racial slurs during her employment.

Charles has not filed a lawsuit, but claims she wants to get her story out so everyone will know the real Paula Deen.

Deen's camp fired back in a statement saying, "Dora's complaint is not about race but about money. It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen."

Of course, Deen has previously admitted that she used the N-word ... but insists she never directed the slur at any of her employees.



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Sorry I don't believe this employee. Besides since when is ringing a dinner bell racially charged. My mom rang a bell for us and I'm about as white as can be. Ranchers ring dinner bells. It's not a racial thing!!

462 days ago


Yep. I think there's a point where people come out and try to cash in on something.

462 days ago


Ringing a dinner bell is racist now? What about putting out knives and forks? 'Cause, you know, if you hold them perpendicular to each other, they form a cross!

462 days ago

Buck Boy    

Dear Press,

Enough already!


462 days ago


Oh God, are we back to this crap again?

462 days ago


Smells like country fried BS!

462 days ago


Oh gosh!! Leave this woman alone and Paula needs to just go away. This will blow over in a few months until the next "scandal" comes to distract us. This has got to be the worst PR ever. Whoever is representing her should be fired, this was never handled right from the beginning. If you think she's racist and don't like her don't support her or buy her stuff. If not then go ahead and by her cook books to your little hearts desire but please TMZ move tf on!!!

462 days ago


LMAO leave this lady alone!!

462 days ago


And that cook, who didn't finish high school and has limited reading and writing ability, made $ 71,000 in salary. Where else would she have made that? And why did she stay 22 years, if it was bad?

462 days ago

BB not bb    

What next? Will the hoecakes be deemed racist because they remind some opportunist of "back in the day". A dinner bell is racist now? Period costumes are racist? You might as well shut down Historic Williamsburg then and other reenactment sites.

They will just say anything to try to annoy Paul and grab her money. Maybe they think she will just pay them to shut up. She is too smart a business woman to do that. So I guess they will just have to stick to whining.

I think it would be fun to eat in a place ringing a dinner bell and people who look like Aunt Jemimah flipping hoecakes.

462 days ago


If people want racism to go away maybe we should stop dragging stuff like this out.

462 days ago


After 22 yrs she decides to complain now? That's BS. This isn't a race issue. It's a money issue. BTW What the hell is a "hoecake"?

462 days ago


The electronic lynching of Paula Deen continues.

462 days ago


Oh ****

462 days ago

BB not bb    

You aren't allowed to look like Aunt Jemima now. Maybe somebody had better tell the people who sell the pancake mix and the supermarkets that stock it. All of the blacks will have to stop eating pancakes and stop shopping where that lady's face is visible on the pancake box.

462 days ago
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