BLACK VOICES
06/25/2013 10:43 am ET Updated Jun 26, 2013

Paula Deen Racism Claim 'Lacks Standing,' Because Plaintiff Is White, Georgia Lawyer Says: Do You Agree?

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Despite Paula Deen's admission that she used racial epithets in various contexts in the past, Georgia attorney Tom Withers says that an initial lawsuit brought against the celebrity chef by former employee Lisa Jackson, is unfounded.

According to the Savannah Morning News
, Withers filed a motion in federal court on June 21, claiming Jackson has stubbornly pursued race-based claims that are false in an effort at “personal destruction” of Deen and her co-defendant brother, Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers.

Withers added in the motion that Jackson's claim of discrimination also lacks standing for one reason in particular -- because she is white.

Jackson, a former general manager at Hiers' Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House Inc., contends that she was the victim of a persistent pattern of racial discrimination in the workplace during her five-year stint. And despite being white, Jackson says derogatory remarks regarding African-Americans are even more personally offensive than they would be to another white citizen, because her nieces are bi-racial with an African-American father.

Withers disagrees.

“Jackson cannot enforce someone else’s right, and she has no actionable claim for feeling ‘uncomfortable’ around discriminatory conduct directed at others,” Withers argued in the motion, which Jackson’s lawyers have until July 8 to refute.

Statements made by Deen in a videotaped deposition surrounding the lawsuit against Jackson sparked controversy last week when it was revealed that she did use the N-word at some point “a very long time ago.” The admission was followed by two video apologies by Deen, an announcement by the Food Network that it would not be renewing Deen's contract and several other Deen Enterprises employees coming forward to reveal that they, too, had been discriminated against.

We took to our Twitter family this week to ask how you think Jackson's race affects her claim:

Below we rounded up a few thoughts our community shared on Withers' motion. Let us know what you think in the comments.

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