Paula Deen was the type of employer who allowed racially and sexually charged language to fly -- and even occasionally took part in it herself, according to earlier legal allegations made against the Queen of Southern Cooking.
But now, the woman who made those allegations against Paula Deen is singing a different tune.
In fact, the plaintiff is now singing Deen's praises, calling her a "woman of compassion and kindness" who would "never tolerate discrimination or racism."
Shortly after it was announced that the case would be dropped following a mutual agreement, both sides released statements through the Rose Group, a public relations firm. The firm has represented Deen as her Southern food empire has been destroyed by the allegations made against her, and by Deen's own admission of her use of the N-word.
[For the record, 1 p.m. Aug. 26: An earlier version of this story referred to the public relations firm as the Rosen Group.]
And it is the statement released on behalf of Lisa Jackson, the plaintiff, that is raising eyebrows.
The statement says that Jackson learned during the course of litigation that Deen was unaware of issues going on in the restaurant where Jackson worked, and goes on to describe Deen as a "woman of compassion and kindness." Here is the statement in full:
"During a very difficult period in my life the Deen family gave me hope and the opportunity to work to build a brighter future for my family and me.
"I assumed that all of my complaints about the workplace environment were getting to Paula Deen, but I learned during this matter that this was not the case. The Paula Deen I have known for more than 8 years, is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone.
"I now know that the workplace environment issues that I raised are being reviewed and will in the future no longer be at issue.
"I wish Ms. Deen and her family all the best in all of their future endeavors and I am very pleased that this matter has now been resolved and can now be put behind us."
Jackson was not available to discuss this about-face. The Associated Press reported that a document filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Ga., said both sides agreed to drop the lawsuit "without any award of costs or fees to any party."
What follows is the statement made by Deen, which also includes mutual admiration for Jackson:
"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.
"During this time my faith has strengthened me and the tremendous outpouring of support as well as prayers from folks from all walks of life has been both humbling and overwhelming.
"I am confident that those who truly know how I live my life know that I believe in kindness and fairness for everyone.
"Lisa Jackson worked at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House for more than five years and we appreciate her service.
"Moving forward my team and I are working to review the workplace environment issues that were raised in this matter and to retool all of my businesses operations. I look forward to getting back to doing what I love."
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