June 21st, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Pastor friend says Paula Deen can't be a racist

SAVANNAH, Georgia (CNN) – The Food Network announced Friday that it will not renew the contract of Paula Deen after she admitted using a racial epithet – but a black pastor who is friends with the celebrity chef said she "can't be a racist."

Deen apologized Friday for "the wrong that I've done," a move that follows revelations this week that she admitted saying the N-word.

But Pastor Gregory A. Tyson Sr. from First Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, defended Deen to WTOC, a CNN affiliate.

"I know her," Tyson said. "My children have been to her house. I've been to her house, I've sat on her furniture. I've been all through her house. What racist would let a black man walk all through her house?"

Tyson also said he is pastor to Hollis Johnson - the black man who manages much of Deen's affairs, travels everywhere with her, owns a successful limo company with a fleet of cars that Deen helped finance.

"She is a mother to him, a mother figure," Tyson said.

"People are going to jump on it and believe what they want to believe and add what they want to add," said Tyson. "But one thing I can sit here today and look you in the face and tell you is that woman can't be a racist."

"She can't have a heart against black people with all that she had done, and all she continues to do," Tyson continued.

"That is why I'm here with you today to be a character witness for miss Paula Deen because she is a beautiful person, a beautiful spirit."

Asked what he thinks about Deen's admission that she has used the N-word, Tyson said, "Who hasn't?"

"That's what you want in a person, to be honest," he continued. "She stood up and and confessed and made the point that she did use the word.  Who hasn't? That doesn't make her a racist. Would a racist gives thousands of dollars to an organization that helps black boys?"

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Black issues • Celebrity • Christianity • Discrimination • Food • Race

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  7. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Paula Deen reminds me of all of the annoying southern women I ever had the misfortune to encounter in my Army enforced banishment to the south. Good riddence to her and her obnoxious laugh from television.

    July 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Azazel

      Awe hell darlin, and to think up until now I liked readin' yer posts.

      July 7, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  8. Guest

    Read the book of Numbers 12 and esp. Numbers 12:9 what God did to a racist. He gave her Leprosy.

    June 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  9. Guest

    This delusion is what some Jewish people said about some of their Nazi friends and is why they stayed in Germany long passed when some should have gotten out. Denial is a very real strong-hold, people don't want to admit their are evil doers or thinkers in the world esp. if some are the people in their circle of friends!

    June 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Guest

      I need new eyeglasses, just got your joke on God being a She. God has aspect of the maternal and paternal nature toward his children but He is not a female. Lame Joke,

      June 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  10. If

    If God didn't WANT us to be racist, then why did she make different races?

    June 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
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      She repented and made the NFL.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Guest

      God is not a racist and the Book of Revelation said Heaven will consist of every tribe, tongue and nation.
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      June 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Guest

      You just basically blamed God for the sin of racism which is blasphemy and a sin. God cannot be evil.

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      Do you know why we are different in color? Do some research. That was an ignorant statement.

      July 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.