Harrah’s Cherokee Casino’s corporate parent, Caesars Entertainment Corp., announced today that it was dropping Paula Deen, who has restaurants in many of its casinos. From the press release:
Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR) announced today it has reached a mutual agreement with Paula Deen Enterprises (PDE) not to renew the two companies’ business relationship. Caesars operates Paula Deen-themed restaurants at four of its properties. Caesars intends to rebrand the restaurants in the coming months.
“While we appreciate Paula’s sincere apologies for statements she made in her past that she recently disclosed during a deposition given in response to a lawsuit, after thoughtful consideration of their impact, we have mutually decided that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways at this time,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications and government affairs for Caesars Entertainment.
The disclosure that the press release references stems from a lawsuit Deen is embroiled in. Here’s a quick summary from CNN:
The accusations against Deen stem from a lawsuit filed by a former manager of Deen’s restaurants in Savannah, Georgia. Lisa T. Jackson’s lawsuit alleges that Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of Jackson’s five-year tenure at Deen’s Lady & Sons and Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House eateries in Savannah.
Deen rejects the allegations.
“There’s someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for and they wanted it,” Deen told NBC on Wednesday, without naming anyone.
In a deposition for the lawsuit, Deen was asked whether she had ever used the “N-word.”
Deen answered that she had probably used the racial slur when talking to her husband about “when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head” — an incident that took place 30 years ago.
Here’s a selection of photos I shot in April 2012 when Deen was riding high and visiting one of her newest restaurants at Harrah’s in Cherokee. At the time, she had an entourage of a couple of handlers, and her husband accompanied her. She had hundreds of people lined up for a photo-and-autograph session.