Paula Deen closed her restaurant Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House that she co-owned with her brother Bubba Hier while she blindsided the employees who were unaware of the closing. Employees found out about the closing of Bubba’s upon arrival of their work shift but instead were handed a severance check at the door.
The closing was allegedly due to the 2013 lawsuit filed by an employee from the Savannah, GA restaurant, Lisa Jackson. Jackson claimed she was sexually harassed by Hier and racially discriminated while working at Uncle Bubba’s. Deen confessed to using racial slurs which lead to her being fired from the Food Network and business partners such as Kmart, JCPenney, and Sears ended their contracts. Jackson’s claims were dismissed because, as a white woman; she was not a part of the group who would be protected from Uncle Bubba’s alleged discrimination.
During the deposition, Paula Deen admitted to using racial slurs in the past but claimed it was during her youth when she lived in a segregated south. When asked if she ever used the “N” word, Deen admitted that she had but most likely during the time when a black man held a gun to her head while robbing the bank where she worked at the time. She also claimed that if she did use the word any other time they were not her actual words, and she was most likely repeating a story someone had shared with her. Deen also stated in the deposition that her sons and brother find it unacceptable to use racist words towards anyone in a cruel manner in the workplace.
There was a statement left on Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House Facebook page announcing the closing of the restaurant, and thanking their customers for 10 great years. A spokesperson for Paula Deen claimed the employees had been told about the restaurants closing ahead of time but according to the staff who showed up on the morning of April 4 they had no idea and seemed quite blindsided by the news. The spokesperson also claimed that Hier’s closed the restaurant to explore different options that have been offered due to the properties waterfront location. The restaurant has been in financial straits for some time. Paula Deen had been footing the bill for Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House and according to her Chief Financial Officer the restaurant owed Deen Enterprises approximately $300,000. Apparently Paula Deen was the name that kept the customers coming to Uncle Bubba’s but she had very little to do with the operation of the restaurant. Her brother Bubba Hier worked as the sole operator of the establishment. As far as being a co-owner it appears she was merely a money source.
Unfortunately, the now former employee’s of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House were blindsided by Paula Deen with the sudden closing of the restaurant which would make any future hopes of finding reliable help after two negative incidences with past employee’s. Deen claims that the past incidence has opened the door for her to restructure Deen Enterprises and create better work relations within her company.
By Christina Thompson