Judge OKs deal to dismiss Paula Deen suit

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Celebrity chef Paula Deen denies she’s ever told racial jokes, but she did acknowledge using the “N” word, according to her deposition in a lawsuit.

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 (CNN) — A federal judge Monday approved a deal dismissing a lawsuit against celebrity chef Paula Deen.

The lawsuit, filed by a former employee who leveled accusations of racism and sexual harassment, was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be filed again, according to a court filing.

Deen’s career and public reputation went into a tailspin this summer after her deposition in the lawsuit, in which she admitted using the “N-word” in the past, was released.

In the media firestorm that followed, Deen lost lucrative endorsements and her Food Network cooking show, while the publication of her eagerly anticipated cookbook was canceled.

U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. in Savannah, Georgia, signed off on the deal, which requires both parties to pay their own court costs and attorney fees. It was not immediately clear whether there was a settlement.

Earlier this month, Moore dismissed a portion of the lawsuit that contended former employee Lisa Jackson was a victim of racial discrimination.

Jackson alleged that Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five years of employment at The Lady and Sons, and Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House — two Savannah, Georgia, restaurants run by Deen and her family.

Savannah is where Deen built her business and brand into what many consider the folksy face of Southern cooking.

When news of the deal to dismiss the lawsuit first spread last week, Deen released a statement, saying she believes “in kindness and fairness for everyone.”

“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,” she said.

By Dana Ford and Phil Gast

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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