More allegations and developments in the ongoing downward spiral of Paula Deen's career: According to a report in the New York Times, Deen ordered a former cook she employed, who was named Ineata Jones but whom she called "Jellyroll," to dress up like Aunt Jemima. AND SHE SAW NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. From the story:
Ms. Deen used Ms. Jones for restaurant theater. At 11 a.m., when the doors opened at the Lady & Sons, she stood in front and rang an iron dinner bell, something she had asked Mrs. Charles to do as well. An image of Ms. Jones doing just that was turned into a postcard sold at Paula Deen stores.
Ms. Jones was also in charge of making hoecakes, the cornmeal pancakes served to every guest. Ms. Deen had designed a station so diners could watch them being made. At both jobs, Mrs. Charles and other employees said, Ms. Deen wanted Ms. Jones to dress in an old-style Aunt Jemima outfit.
Deen is denying that this happened, of course, but her credibility when it comes to her racist tendencies is pretty shot these days. More fuel for this raging fire: Jones is reportedly barred from speaking badly about Deen, due to a contract stating that Deen didn't discriminate against her because of her race. When someone takes legal action to keep a person quiet, you know that person has something to say.
Additionally, the Times article also profiles another one of Deen's former cooks and closest friends, Dora Charles, and explains how Charles and Deen worked together for 22 years, and Deen promised Charles—who was making under $10/hour—that when she one day became rich, Charles would too. Fast forward to the present, and Charles was still making under $10/hour, and living in a rundown trailer home with a bum shoulder. When she attempted to file a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, her salary was reportedly magically bumped up to $71,000. What a coincidence!
Not. In her interview with the Times, Charles stated, "it’s just time that everybody knows that Paula Deen don’t treat me the way they think she treat me." She also added that Deen once asked her to "ring a dinner bell in front of the restaurant, hollering for people to come and get it," to attract customers. "I said, 'I’m not ringing no bell,'" Charles explained. "That’s a symbol to me of what we used to do back in the day."
Through her publicity team (who is probably getting no sleep at this point), Deen released the following statement about Charles' claims: "Fundamentally Dora’s complaint is not about race but about money. It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen...[Deen] provided guidance and support through the many ups and downs of Mrs. Charles’s life."
Even if she provided "guidance and support" to Charles, there's something to be said about the fact that Charles spent over 20 years assisting Deen, was asked to "ring a dinner bell" in front of their restaurant, and only made a little under $10/hour even after Deen got her series on the Food Network—and that something, unsurprisingly, doesn't speak well to Deen's character.