6.23.2013

Paula Deen...Really Though?

From Salon.com:
When asked what she thought about casting black men as slaves at a wedding, Deen said that a restaurant she went to with her husband inspired the idea: “The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie.”

“I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America … after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War … It was not only black men, it was black women … I would say they were slaves.”
But it gets better. From the Huffington Post:
I can't imagine that Paula Deen and her legal team were blindsided by the line of questioning from Lisa Jackson's lawyer.

Jackson is suing Deen and her brother Bubba for creating a hostile work environment. In her amended complaint to file the lawsuit, Jackson said that she had suffered from "violent, sexist and racist behavior." It alleged that "racially discriminatory attitudes" were present. Although the allegations were primarily aimed at Bubba, it noted that "Paula Deen holds such racist views herself."

Paula's legal team flunked Risk Management 101. When they allowed Paula to give her deposition, they had to realize that the testimony would not be limited to her recipe for peanut butter pie.

The deposition process allowed the ugliest allegations to get on the record and in the public domain. They destroyed Paula's multimillion dollar business empire.

All from a lawsuit that should have been settled.


As a settlement planner and licensed claims adjuster, I've been involved in thousands of legal negotiations.

From a risk management standpoint, the Deen lawsuit was a no brainer. The worst Paula and her insurance carrier could lose was $1.2 million. Paula has that in her hip pocket.

Paula's team should have made the lawsuit go away quietly.

If I had been on Paula's risk management team, I would have asked Paula to have a settlement conference with Jackson. I also would have told Paula to:

1. Bring her checkbook.

2. Apologize sincerely and profusely.

3. Make sure that the settlement agreement has a strong confidentiality clause so the settlement or anything said does not make it into the public domain.

Settling claims is about risk management. Risk management is a lot like my late father's career as a bookie and professional gambler.

The key to bookmaking is not to hit a big jackpot. It is to minimize your losses.

Settling insurance claims works the same way. You have to look at what an ugly lawsuit will do to your overall reputation and business and weigh that against the amount of money a settlement might cost.

Obviously no one on Paula's legal team saw the big picture.

Risk management means that when your opponents have a nuclear bomb in their arsenal, you do everything and anything to defuse it.

Long before the decision was made to allow Ms. Dean to take part in a deposition, someone on her legal and claims consulting team should have assessed the risk of that happening.

Looking at the case strictly from a dollar standpoint, it would have saved Deen millions to get the case settled.

Since Ms. Jackson is asking for $1.2 million, I suspect she would have taken a somewhat smaller amount, like a million dollars. Writing that check would have saved Paula from a million problems.

I'm not passing judgment on what she did or did not do. That is not my universe. The job of a risk manager is to see whether duking it out in court or quietly settling an allegation is the best business strategy.

Even if Deen goes on to win the lawsuit and pay nothing, she has already paid with everything.

...In
The Art of War, Sun Tzu said, "he who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious."

Paula Deen's risk management crew would have been smart to take advice from a wise Chinese general from the fifth century.

They lost a battle they should have never fought.

20 comments:

  1. Expect a blog post on Ms. Paula by Monday.

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  2. I recently clocked my take on this, but this is just a complete and utter clusterf*ck. And I feel not one modicum of sympathy for her. Particularly since her equally as ignorant, racist/sexist apologist fans are rallying behind her and flocking to the scene of the crime in droves, to patronize her and her brother's business.

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    1. Oh yeah..they also have a petition drive calling for her to be put back on on Food Network.

      I will admit, I liked looking at her show, until this came. I'm just soooo sick and tired of her racist apologist friends and racists making excuses for her and not taking responsibiltyfor what they do.I'm just plain tired of it. She admitted to it and its just despicable how they are trying to create lies from it.If Paula was a Black person these same apologist would have been very unforgiving to her and sent her packing. When will their hypocrisy end?I also found it ironic was the very person who initiated this lawsuit was a White woman. I bet that she never seen that coming.Looks like that isn't all that is about to happen to her. I just heard on the news that the Rainbow Coalition of Atlanta is getting involved in this after several of her employees contacted them.

      Much as I despise her mouth, I'll give credit, she was honest ..didn't hide a thing, but its not going to make me want to go to her or her brothers restaurant. She may have been part of the Old South, but I'm not for excuses. There are White Southerners of her time who have never said that word. Its not like she used it once and let's not forget about a dream about having little n's playing slaves in her brother's wedding .

      I don't know who is worse her or Mel Gibson, but I know on thing I have no taste in seeing them on TV/in the movies no time soon.

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    2. And don't forget the fauxgressives lining up in her defense mainly because they don't want to be next.

      To answer Bill Maher's question, yes...we DO need to make people like this go away for racism. It's called consequences, a necessary element in the destruction of racism and white privilege.

      You can't fight racism and tolerate racism. You can't condemn it while protecting its practitioners. Paula Deen didn't slip accidentally one day; she's a 60-year-old Southerner with a slavery fetish and she needs to go.

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  3. All I have to say is that Black Twitter dragged her by her teeth a few days ago. #PaulasBestDishes.

    Honestly, I don't know what folks were thinking. She's a 60-something white woman from the deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep south. So as far as I'm concerned, it was Tuesday (or whatever day this occurred). Some fools tried to make it seem like she used the N-bomb back in the 80s when it was "acceptable" and not now like it's being claimed. Bullshit, motherfuckers. I'd swear on my new job that bitch used "n*gger" five minutes into the deposition. Whatever. Bye, Paula. Fuck outta here.

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    1. But Amaya, the thing I think I like the LEAST about this whole scandal is that all of the little hipster racists who don't eat gluten and recycle and ride bicycles think that Paula is racist and they are not.
      I'm from the South, and I have to say that I prefer dealing with white Southerners instead of white "fauxgressives" to borrow a term used above.
      There are loads of white people who "love" the Obamas but who are every bit as racist if not MORE than Paula Deen.
      And I don't think the South is has MORE racism than other parts of the US, it just has the easist kind of racism to point out and laugh at.
      Let's not forget that cops the were NOT in the South have been the ones shooting unarmed black men and getting away with it.
      And if you want to deal with some racist ass white people, come to the Bay Area and try to work in the tech industry. Or just live. I hate it. I would take 1000 Paula Deen's and their very obvious form of racism every day over these hipsters and tech workers who manage to keep their companies all white and Asian and who get a rash at the thought of being anywhere that has more than 10% black people (most of the companies out here have low single digit percentages of black employees and many of your "favorite" companies fight tooth and nail to keep the exact number of black and Latino employees a secret b/c the numbers as so low).
      There are so many people here who CRINGE at the idea of going to Oakland...which by the way is only 28% black. So these people would basically wet their pants if they were ever in Atlanta, DC, Detroit, Chicago, etc.

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    2. Excellent point.

      While I'm more than disgusted at Paula and her racist friends, one thing I thought about some of the people that are also opposed to her.Why do they assume that all of them are Southern? There are some non-Southern people who loves her show and support her show.

      Some non-Southerners can also be just as racist as what they Southern people are supposed to be. Like you said the only difference being in that Southern people are more open about theirs than they are. That is one girl that I knew in highschool beginning to find out slowly. She like me,she's from Georgia,but fled to L.A. to the White burbs of there. She's White/Thai but has Blasian kids.Supposedly she went for the "diversity" wanting to raise her kids there.


      I found it weird for her to say that. Most of the pictures she had on her blog didn't show the mixture she wanted for her family. It was mostly White. Like most people who look at Cali as a melting pot and she fell for it.However, that changed a little when she was mystified about her son becoming lethargic and showing no interest in doing his schoolwoek when he was in the second grade. In the oddest way her son learn about racism through 50 cents.

      It started when the son asked his White classmates about the rapper. When he asked them did the know who he was all of classmates said no (why don't believe that. Even racists know who he is..lol.I smell racial overtones with that) .From there, he said he felt left out.She end up transferring to a more diverse school because of this incident because physically (he looks stereotypically Latino with brown,long curly hair) and mentally felt that he was different.

      My first question to her was why would you put your sons in a mostly White school like that? Its California? I guess she has gotten lost the reality about racism that is most times hidden in the smoke screen of diversity in that state. I don't care what region of the US she moved to ,she cannot escape racism. I just could have imagined her sons (she has another son also) staying in that's school longer with her thoughts of California diversity and the both of them suffering because of that thought. She's already POC dealing with Blasian sons she can no longer pretend that its a racial utopia .Just because she lives in California doesn't mean its any more tolerant of race than Georgia or any other part of the South. Even in her sons mixed school, there is no guarantee that its bigoted free. That is what her and some other people don't get. The game of race is just beginning. Unfortunately, her boys will learn more lessons about it in the future.

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    3. @Nicthommi-I'm surprised they let the Asians in.

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    4. @Lor, they don't let them totally in. But enough Asians buy into the model minority/meritocracy myth that they use them a lot. They let them in, just not all the way to the top, and they use them to attack blacks and Latinos who "just need to work harder like the Asians" to get their chance to be foot soldiers to white people. Plus white men, at least out here, are NUTS for Asian women, so they don't want to close down that pipeline either.

      @M, Southerners aren't more open in their racism. It's just a different form of racism. There is a saying that whites in the South don't care how close you get as long as you don't get to big. Whites in the North don't care how big you get as long as you don't get to close. But you will hear way worse stuff than Paula Deen has ever uttered in Chicago, the Detroit suburbs, Philly, Boston, and many other Northern cities. Not subtle. Not behind closed doors. I did a high school program in the Boston area and they gave us a list of neighborhoods to avoid as a black or brown person. And let's not forget that there are neighborhoods in NYC that are just as hostile to us.

      But I find the brand of racism practiced by white hipsters, fake progressives, and poseurs pretending to be allies just as open and the big insult is the derailing and denial that they engage in.
      Those are the ones who think they can say the n-word with an "a" or who think "context matters" when saying racist crap, or like to tell you how they aren't racist but just think X people aren't attractive, or Y people are attractive, or ask those "why do black people do X" or "Obama is just as white as he is black, it's racist for him to say he is black"...they are also the ones who tend to litigate the most about affirmative action (even though the latest lawsuit is from Texas, let's not forget that the floodgates were opened by Michigan and California).
      And limousine liberals tend to have very little interest in exposing their children to poor and/or brown people.

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    5. @Nictchommi

      I agree with you. Some of stuff you hear in those places makes the South look way open but you won't hear about it too much.The funny thing is that while the South is branded as redneck territory, According to SPLC , Cali has the highest rate of hate groups in the U.S..A comparison was even done with his when it came to hate crimes in Cali vs and a couple of other Southern states and the hate crimes in Cali was Wayyy higher than those states combined.I heard my aunt talk about the racism there wondering why did she leave Georgia in the 60s-She told me that it she went from the pan to the fire but she stayed because of her kids.

      My brother is talking about going to San Diego for Comic Con. I've heard from two people that it was a hot bead(Orange County) for Neo Nazis and there is load of racism there. I find it ironic that people will say be weary of the South and the KKK yet I find myself doing the same with him and the Neo Nazis. Although every state have them, they seem to be very active in Cali. In comparison to the KKK Neo Nazis have been far active than the KKK.

      Racism is just not a Southern problem.Its all over the world. I just hate it when people say" it doesn't exists here.."when it does. Like you said its a different kind of racism.. a more deceptive kind of it. I think about the girl who went to my high school.Her boys are growing and she really needs to be honest about racism where she lives and abroad. What she was looking for in LA could have been found in her home state and an added plus is that its rich in Black culture.

      There is nothing wrong with going to a place for jobs, the weather or just liking it,but to escape racism...its going to find you no matter where you are. Her son learned about race through 50cents. There battle is just beginning. She can't shield them from reality. Unfortunately, there are many people who equates physical diversity to anti racism.So not true.

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  4. I wrote my analysis on this whole thing and I noticed something that whites like to do. It's all on my blog.

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  5. “Much as I despise her mouth, I'll give credit, she was honest ..didn't hide a thing, but its not going to make me want to go to her or her brothers restaurant.”

    When sweet Paula Purebred waxed nostalgic on the Antebellum South (in that slow southern drawl) and of her ancestor Billy, she wasn’t being totally honest with the audience. One might think what happened to her ancestor occurred only a short time ago. I mean the empathy she expresses for the owner of over 30 slaves was very telling. As she puts it, “back then, "black folk were such integral part of OUR lives, they were like OUR family," and, for that reason, "WE didn't see OURSELVES as being prejudiced." She sounds like a slave owner- not the great granddaughter of one.

    Not only is she speaking as though she’s lived during that period, but she intimates the account as if it happened to her personally. More woefully apparent was her use of the description “WORKERS,” instead of SLAVES. To me the effort was disingenuous at best. For when you purposefully use the expression Worker instead of Slave you’re attempting to downplay the realities of forced servitude, while revealing your own bias towards that Peculiar Institution.

    However, when she called on a black employee (Hollis Johnson) to demonstrate her profound love for the black race (and how utterly impossible it is for her to be racist) she unwittingly squelches that defense when she says, He's "black as this board." AND "We can't see you standing in front of that dark board!" The only conclusion I can come up with is that Paula Deen may in fact be older than she appears. For she speaks as if she were plucked from the Antebellum South and dropped in the present day by an ominously large tornado. Must be jarring for someone as delicate and down to earth as she.

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    1. Dearest- I visit your page almost every single day to be schooled by some of the smartest people I know. I remember telling you I don't contribute unless I feel have something to say, and even then, I'm more geared towards the stance of listener than orator.

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    2. M.Gibson,

      That is what bugs me with Paula.She claims that she only used the N word once, but what she don't get is that she's still racist. To her,I guess having a plantation styled wedding and describing Hollis in the manner doesn't equal racism..lol! I looked at that interview Matt Lauer did with her. I thought he did a great job with his interview. Sad how people don't want to accept reality.

      Its even more sickening how those racists (far as I'm concerned her supporters are) just support her racism.Then again, as my mom would tell me, no matter how wrong a White(in denial)person may be, they will stick up for a person like Paula before a truthful POC. When will those same forgive Kanye for what happened with Taylor Swift or recently with Lil Wayne and the flag? I'm just so sick of their racism and hypocrisy.

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  6. A comprehensive breakdown as to why the Paula Deen defense is DOA:

    http://arsmarginal.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/why-your-paula-deen-defense-is-doa/

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  7. The outrage ultimately stems from the fact that this is one of the few times that racism against blacks wielded a consequence of some sort and in Amerikkka we just can’t have that.

    Funny how I didn’t see legions of whites rushing to defend Isaiah Washington when he was allegedly “a little bigoted.”

    Deen’s apologists have argued that she’s from the Deep South and she just doesn’t know any better about racism, bless her little heart. It’s part of her background.

    Yet funny how that background/upbringing excuse didn’t fly for whites when Michael Vick went to jail. Of course in Amerikkka dogs are more valued than black people so what else is new.

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    1. "Yet funny how that background/upbringing excuse didn’t fly for whites when Michael Vick went to jail. Of course in Amerikkka dogs are more valued than black people so what else is new."

      I agree. When it comes to offenses perpetrated by whites most seem to suffer from a form of psychogenic or dissociative amnesia. If pressed- they have a hard time remembering who Sergeant Stacey Koon was, or Shawn Berry, Lawrence Brewer, and John King (you know the men who dragged James Byrd to his death behind a truck). Many still have a hard time remembering who Timothy McVeigh was.

      On the other hand, when people of color threaten or destroy the thing that whites hold most dear, whites exhibit a capacity for exposition that’s quite astonishing. Their propensity for narrative, analysis- assessment and review is second to none. Try as they might not to appear racist they’re constantly tripping over their bigotry as if it were an old shoe. The name of Michael Vick is forever etched in the recess of their retentive memories much like the hand prints outside the Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

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