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The 6 most eyebrow-raising parts of Bloomberg’s Paula Deen story

July 7, 2013

Despite the Twitter hoopla and living in the South, I’d managed to pretty well avoid the Paula Deen fiasco until I was flipping through this week’s issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. After reading Ann Woolner and Felix Gillette’s article, though, it was worth taking a second to figure out the most surprising parts of the bizarre story. (By the way, the melted butter sculpture graphic of Deen is hilarious in the print version.)

  1. Deen wanted the wedding for Bubba Hiers, her brother, to feature “a bunch of little n—— to wear long-sleeve shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.” Later, in her deposition, Deen said she wanted a “South style plantation wedding.” Oh, but Deen “did not mean anything derogatory” by her comments.
  2. Hiers, Deen’s 59-year-old brother, drinks on the job and admitted in a deposition that he drinks a gallon and a half of Jack Daniels at home every month. (That’s a little more than three shots a day.) According to Hiers, he’s totally not an alcoholic.
  3. It’s unclear from the article whether Hiers ran Deen’s Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, but he was certainly very involved in the day-to-day operations. Why Deen thought it a good idea to put her brother in charge of the restaurant is unclear, particularly considering that he had battled alcohol and cocaine addictions and was accused by employees of leaving pornographic websites open on a kitchen computer screen. Furthermore, two managers and a human resources told Deen that she should scale back Hiers’ involvement, recommendations she ignored.
  4. Deen waited three years to reveal that she had type 2 diabetes — until she signed up to promote diabetes medicine. The maker of that drug, Novo Nordisk, has dropped Deen as a representative in light of the scandal.
  5. Deen has no idea how much her company, Paula Deen Enterprises, is worth.
  6. Deen could have avoided this entire mess if only she’d agreed to pay Lisa Jackson, the former general manager of Uncle Bubba’s, $1.25 million. Think she wishes that she’d paid that now, after The Food Network, Smithfield Foods, QVC, Target, Sears and other brands have distanced themselves from her?
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