Paula Deen won a small victory in court on Monday when Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that the plaintiff suing Deen for discrimination, Lisa Jackson, has no basis to sue Deen for racial discrimination.

Jackson alleges that Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, would commonly use racial slurs and had discriminatory hiring practices. Judge Moore ruled that, while these claims may be true, even if they are, Deen and Hiers’ discriminatory attitudes would not have affected Jackson’s career because she is white.

“At best, plaintiff [Jackson] is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination. Her difficulties do not fall within the zones of interests sought to be protected by Title VII,” wrote the Judge in his ruling.

“There are no allegations that defendant Hiers’ racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her,” the Judge continued.


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Judge Moore is referring to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which states that no person should be discriminated against due to race, color, religion or sex.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed. As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life known that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone,” reps for Deen told People

Jackson’s suit is still in progress, however, as the judge has not yet ruled as to whether or not Jackson has standing to sue for sexual harassment and is expected to do some time in the coming weeks.

Despite Deen’s partially declared innocence, the lawsuit brought by Jackson brought the popular opinion of celebrity chef, Paul Deen, to an all time low. In leaked testimony from the suit, Deen confessed to using the ‘n-word’ in racial jokes, leading to her dismissal from the Food Network, in addition to the loss of many other product endorsement deals.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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