Thursday, June 20, 2013

Paula Deen gave the worst deposition ever

Until now, celebrity chef Paula Deen was best known for high cholesterol and high incidence of diabetes. After this week, however, she might now be better known as the worst deponent ever.

Ms. Deen was recently deposed in a race discrimination case brought by a former employee. Among her testimonial gems, according to Talking Points Memo (which includes a copy of the full deposition transcript):

  • Deen describes her dream restaurant: “I remember telling [my employees] about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid that somebody would misinterpret.”
  • Deen details nice ways to use the N-word: “We hear a lot of things in the kitchen, things that they — that black people will say to each other. If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way.”
  • Deen responds to whether jokes using the N-word are hurtful: “That’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the jokes, I don’t know. They usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.

As for me, I’m saving a copy of the transcript to use with my clients as the example of how not to perform at a deposition.