Lisa Jackson, the woman suing maligned Southern cook Paula Deen for racial discrimination and sexual harassment, has no standing as a victim of race, according to the federal judge overseeing her suit.
Jackson is white and was not directly discriminated or professionally harmed by her relations with black employees. Therefore, the former employee can't claim to be a victim of racial discrimination targeting African American workers, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. wrote in his ruling.
Moore threw out Jackson’s discrimination complaint Monday but kept intact her sexual harassment claim. "At best, plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination," Moore wrote. "Her difficulties do not fall within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII."
Jackson’s civil suit, based on the years she worked as manager at Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, brought down the silver-haired, sassy Food Network star in June and cost her several endorsement deals.
Specifically, it was Deen’s admitted use of the N word and seemingly insensitive fondness for racial stereotypes and slave history that caused an empire to crumble at lightning speed.
"We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson's claims of race discrimination have been dismissed," a representative of Deen told People magazine in a statement. "As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone."
Deen’s testimony in the civil suit was leaked in June, causing an immediate swirl of bad publicity and a frenzy on social media, where she was both defended and castigated. All of that was compounded by some of her own mistakes, including not showing up for a promised "Today" appearance and then clumsily posting a rambling video apology.