The New York Times has published an explosive new video interview with Dora Charles, an African-American cook who helped Paula Deen run her kitchen for 20 years in the Lady & Sons restaurant. The piece was published on Thursday, July 25, 2013, and has taken the Internet by storm with tales of racism and greed:
Read the The New York Times article here
“Dora and I have been together for about 18 years,” Deen says in the video. “She is in charge of that kitchen at Lady & Sons — if it’s a southern dish, you better not put it out unless it passes her tongue.”
Charles speaks of her and Deen hitting it off at first, becoming fast friends. “We hit it off real good. She started calling us soul sisters,” she says of Deen, who inevitably promised riches.
“Stick with me. One day, if I get rich, you’ll get rich,” Deen allegedly told Charles.
Instead of riches, Charles found herself making only $6.50 per hour when Deen started at The Food Network, and the “soul sister” was working hard six days per week.
“It just passed me by,” Charles said about Deen’s promised riches. “I wasn’t going to run behind her and say, ‘You promised me. Where’s my half?’ I was just looking for a decent salary.”
Things got so dire for Charles from living off such meager earnings, she says she couldn’t afford her medicine.
“I told her at times that I didn’t have enough money to buy my own medication,” Charles said, recounting an incident when Deen sat across a long table from her and tossed a one-hundred dollar bill that didn’t reach her across the table, saying, “Here’s $100 — go buy your medicine.”
About the rumors of the southern wedding that the full legal complaint against Deen alleges, saying that Deen wanted black employees to dress in black, Charles corroborated the wedding story circulating, and also said she witnessed Deen using the derogatory N-word on several occasions.
“Do you feel Paula Deen is racist?” Charles is asked.
“I’ve heard her use the N-word,” Charles said, stating Deen would say things like, “‘I’ll tell y’all, y’all [N-word] …that’s what’s wrong with y’all [N-word] today.'”
Why is Charles coming forward now to tell her story?
“They didn’t give me nothing I deserved. Everything I got, I’ve worked for it,” she says, stating that her own coworkers think she lives in a mansion.
“It’s time for everybody to know that Paula Deen don’t treat me the way they think she treat me,” Charles stated, holding on to her dream of one day opening her own restaurant.