Celebrity chef Paula Deen took a big step toward becoming non-toxic-for-TV today, when lawyers signed a deal dropping that discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit that wound up costing Deen her Food Network gig, among other business relationships. Both sides agreed to drop the lawsuit “without any award of costs or fees to any party,” according to a document filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah, the Associated Press reports. Former employee Lisa Jackson had sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers last year, saying she suffered from sexual harassment and racially offensive talk and employment practices during her five years as a manager of a restaurant Deen and Hiers co-owned. During a deposition related to the lawsuit, Deen acknowledged having used racial slurs in the past and, when a transcript became public in June, the media frenzy led to Deen being dumped by Food Network and other business partners.
“While this has been a difficult time for both my family and myself, I am pleased that the judge dismissed the race claims and I am looking forward to getting this behind me, now that the remaining claims have been resolved,” Deen said in a statement. While the suit and deposition were disastrous for Deen, her ill-advised attempts at damage control was a kick in the ratings for NBC’s Today show which snagged her first interview after the deposition went public in which she tearfully begged sponsors not to dump her. That interview landed Today its first ratings win over ABC’s Good Morning America since Hurricane Sandy.
Related: Paula Deen Drops Longtime Agent