CNN 'N Word' Special? Deen's Accuser Says Lawsuit Was Never About the Slur

The woman who filed a lawsuit against the celebrity chef said her issues were bigger than the single word that was the focus of Monday night's program. 

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"The N Word" panelists (CNN)

With "The N Word," a special hosted by Don Lemon, CNN dedicated a good chunk of Monday-night programming to the word "n--ger": who says it, what it means, how it compares to "cracker" and more.

The discussion was apparently inspired in part by -- and focused heavily on --  the recent allegations of racism against celebrity chef Paula Deen, whose own admitted use of the word more than once "a very long time" ago came to light when a harassment lawsuit against her made headlines. (Specifically, when asked in a deposition if she'd said it, she responded, "Yes, of course.")

But Lisa Jackson, the former Deen employee who filed the suit, said in a statement on Monday that the case "has never been about the n-word," CNN reports. Rather, her lawyer explained, "It is to address Ms. Deen's patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior."

We assume that things like Deen's fantasy about a slavery-themed wedding fall into that category. (In case you missed it last week, here's the quote about the event that inspired her: "The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America ... after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War ... It was not only black men, it was black women ... I would say they were slaves.")

Of course, it's easier to tackle a single word than an entire outdated and deeply problematic worldview. Really, where do you even start when someone thinks that sounds like a good idea? The network would have had to do a miniseries to get to the bottom of it. But for now, it's safe to say the trusty old n-word debate remains as unresolved (and as good for ratings) as ever.

Read more at CNN.

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