In Bureaucracy, Business, Law, Social commentary on July 3, 2013 at 12:01 am

The media has focused exclusively on Paula Deen’s use of “nigger.” In doing so, it has completely ignored even more important aspects of the lawsuit filed against her.

Consider the allegations listed in the complaint filed by Lisa Jackson, who spent five years (2005 – 2010) as  General Manager for Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, in Savannah, Georgia.  This is owned by Deen’s brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers.

Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House

According to the complaint, employees at the restaurant were routinely subjected to “violent behavior,” which included “racial harassment, assault, battery and other humiliating conduct.”

Among those violations alleged in the complaint:

  • In Jackson’s presence, Hiers told another employee who had just gotten dentures: “I bet your husband is going to like that.”
  • Hiers told a joke to male and female staffers that described why men should have sex with flat-headed women: Because “you can sit your beer on top of her head while she is giving you a blow-job.”
  • Hiers told Jackson that he would like to replace the staff at Uncle Bubba’s with “Hooter’s Girls.”
  • At a weekly managers’ meeting, Hiers brought printouts of an email entitled, “Why Gay marriage Should Be Legal,” replete with pictures of lesbian sex.  Hiers passed the emails around the table for men and women–including Jackson–to see.
  • A meeting was scheduled by Karl Schumacher, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, and attended by James P. Gerard, attorney for the Paula Deen Family of Companies.  Its purpose: to address Hiers’ “frequent and outrageous sexual and racial comments.  In this meeting, in… Gerard’s office, Bubba Hiers discussed his interest in Web site pornography.”  He stated to Gerard: “Don’t tell me you don’t do that at night.”
  • In 2007, Deen placed Jackson in charge of food and serving arrangements for the wedding of her brother, Hiers.  Jackson asked Dean what look the wedding should have.  Deen replied: “I want a true Southern plantation-style wedding.  What I would really like is a bunch of little niggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.”  Deen laughed and added: “Now that would be a true Southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”
  • At Uncle Bubba’s Oysterr House restaurant, “African-American staff persons are required to use the back entrance for all purposes, including picking up their checks.  They were prohibited from using the front entrance.”
  • “African-American staff…are required to use one restroom that is in the back of the restaurant and is not the customer restroom.  White staff was allowed to use the customer bathroom.”
  • “African-American staff” who are “stationed at the back of [the] restaurant are not allowed to go to the front.”
  • Jackson hired two black hostesses, whose position “required them to be stationed in the front of the restaurant.  Bubba Hiers complained repeatedly about one hostess being out front and she was later fired for allegedly stealing a white customer’s purse.  The police were called and the young woman was searched, but she was not arrested and no charges were brought.  Mr. Hiers demanded that the other [black] hostess be moved to a position in the back…where she could not be seen by customers.”
  • Jackson was meeting with a vendor in her office at the restaurant when Hiers entered “and slammed the door behind him, stating, ‘I wish I could put all those niggers [in the kitchen] on a boat to Africa.'”
  • “Bubba Hiers confronted a [black] male kitchen staff[er] and repeatedly screamed at him, and physically and violently shook him.”
  • In Jackson’s presence, Hiers said to his black security guard and driver: “Don’t you wish you could rub all the black off you and be like me?”  The guard replied, “I’m fine the way I am.”  Hiers then said: “You just look dirty.  I bet you wish you could.”
  • Hiers stated in Jackson’s presence: “They should send President Obama to the oil spill in the Gulf [of Mexico] so he could nigger-rig it.”
  • In the presence of Jackson and  a vendor who traps wildlife, Hiers said: “You also got a bunch of coons in this kitchen you can trap.”
  • Hiers “told jokes using the word ‘nigger’ in front of the coordinator of a fundraising event at the Bethesda Boys Home.  The coordinator…expressed to Ms. Jackson her discomfort with Mr. Hiers and his language.”
  • During a meeting, Hiers “began beating on his chest and challenging anyone and everyone in the kitchen to fight him.  He screamed so loud that spit was coming out of his mouth, as he said: ‘Come get some.  Come on, you want a piece of me?  Meet me on the dock you mother fuckers.'”
  • After this outburst, Jackson “scanned the room in horror and saw her staff, recognizing the look of fear, disbelief and helplessness” on their faces.  “Mr. Hiers then stumbled out the back foor to his truck and he was gone.”

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