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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soundoff (491 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    All of us that are 6o years of age or older have used that word in the past and Paula admitted she had , "a long time ago". This reaction by the Food Network totally ridiculus and will cost them in the long run. What if the suit, filed by a white woman, is thrown out of court? The suit as read on the air made no sense at all, just someone picking a celeb to attempt to get money from.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Truth Today

      Thanks for admitting that most White people 60 years or older are latent racists that Blacks should be most cautious about. Maybe that is why Whites 60 or older find it difficult to vote for a Black President. Blacks have always known this but it is good to read an admittance of it.

      June 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    Letter KKK represent Klio Klux Klan, hinduism corruption of Greek words Cleo Clux Clan, meaning noble family or tribe of follower of truth absolute 360* in their own hindu racist way. A definition by hindus N s, ignorant racist , for hindus N s ignorant racist, by the hindu racist ignorant s and followed as religion in hinduism racism by faith place of hinduism, racism called india.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • STFU

      stop acting like a history teacher on BB, who cares what KKK or AAA or BBB means, get lost goone.

      June 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
  3. Uncouth Swain

    Exactly how does this have anything to do wth religious belief? I mean, if a physicist had said it instead of a pastor, would this be listed in the science blogs?

    June 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Frank


      June 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  4. MattyIce

    Well, the question at hand isn't whether Paula used a bad word now and again, the question is what happened at her restaurant with her subordinate. I have always enjoyed Paula Deen's shows and recipes, and I think the Food Network probably should have reserved judgment until there was a full finding of fact, but these days the Bonfire of the Twitterverse is all that matters.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Trial by social media.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      She and Ina are my favs.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Ancient Texan

      The politically correct garbage strikes again.. Sponsors of Food channel may begin to feel the pinch from folks irate at the actions of the network.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  5. Ken

    I'm glad this Pastor came forward to defend his friend!

    June 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Yes, it gets annoying that whenever race is involved in a controversy, it gets blown way out of proportion. I'm glad the pastor is sticking up for her.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Anna

      I agree.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  6. MrHighMighty

    So this story qualified for the Belief Blog just because a pastor came to Deen's defense? I was hoping for some controversial comments and lively debate about the origin of man, and God's reasons for creating diversity among us. Someone must be on vacation from the CNN Blog desk.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Brandon

      Yea... what is god's reasoning for creating diversity? It don't seem to be working out well...

      June 21, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  7. aefreem

    Therein lies the cultural difference. When even a black man, at least in the South, thinks it's normal to have used the "N" word. I could not, never have, never will.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Dippy


      June 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • rc roeder

      do you or have you ever lived in the deep south out of the main stream cities?

      June 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  8. foodle

    So, because she once let a black person into her house, she can't be a racist?!? Great logic there pastor...

    June 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Brandon

      Why are you looking so hard for her to be racist??? I don't get it. Brainwashed much??

      June 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  9. Larry B.

    This is hysterical. A KKKhristian "Pastor" supporting this worthless piece of racist crap? He must have attended the classes at the "Church" of the Aqua Buddha. Either that or Liberty University.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      KKKhristian? There aren't too many black pastors in the KKK, last time I checked.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Brandon

      This is the people commenting on here they are so brainwashed by liberal media that everything is racist they will call a black person racist for defending a white person. Racist against his own kind? Brainwashed much???

      June 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Ancient Texan

      Paula is racist? Proof? Probably 90% of the American public over the age of 60 has used that term at sometime in the past....And racism is still alive and well: I read it everyday on these threads...directed at white folk.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Brandon

      Yea Ancient Texan I agree. The racism is directed at white people by brainwashed libby white's that truly believe that because we are more successful that blacks that we are somehow evil. They believe in the Obamanation of socialism where we give all of our success to other people that don't have it so we can live like crap right along with them. Give them ALL of our wealth to avoid white guilt for something WE are NOT responsible for??? I DONT THINK SOOO!!!

      June 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm |

  10. One should not say niggardly when one can say parsimonious.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      There is nothing wrong with the word n.iggardly.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

    • Then why can't you get it past the filter?

      June 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Dippy


      June 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      If you decide what words are right and wrong by whether they get past the CNN filter, you have major psychological issues.

      By the way, there are no wrong words. Right and wrong is an arbitrary concept at the best of times, giving it a blanket application over certain words is ridiculous.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Dave's friend

      Because he doesn't know the HTML tags, asshole. Stop being such a fucking show-off.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Thanks friend.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  11. Hemlock

    Who cares! We have troops getting killed over seas and yet you folks bicker over trivial little subjects like this. Pathetic!

    June 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  12. don

    REDICULOUS! This country just plain sucks anymore ! RIDICULED and FIRED from job for admitting you said A WORD?? REALLY??

    June 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm |

    • You better watch your mouth too, don.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Dippy

      Ridiculous, not rediculous.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • rc roeder

      the Food Network is more concerned with profit. I bet today or tomorrow would be a good time to by Paula Dean cookware and other named products. Stores will be dumping it because they are afraid of one bad tweet.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Brandon

      It's so dumb. It is completely out of hand and sad. White people are the one's that are so worried about it too. It's like we are destroying ourselves in the process of trying to stick up for a race that don't give two craps about us. I am pretty sure they would never do the same for us. I want a thank you for all of the white people that died in the civil war for their freedom and this is what we got? I don't think it was worth it.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  13. Jo Black

    Thank you , Pastor, for speaking out.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  14. JohnG

    I watch the Food Network, guess I'll stop watching it now. I bet more Black Americans say the word than Whites. My Dad is 78 and says the word Colored referring to Black people, I have always said "you mean Black"? Only because we are all colored. My point is that was normal language by whites at one time, don't confict her for being honest. She clearlly isn't racist.....the policical correct BS has gone way to far.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Frank B

      I'm black I don't say the word. With that being said. Paula Deen is getting screwed. If I ever get an opportunity to eat at her restuarant, I will happily do so.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Truth Today

      I am Black. I don't use the word. But is so typical of people like you to excuse its use by a White without realizing the context of its use regardless of how repulsive the word is. I will be glad when people in America realize that there are a whole lot of people, White and Black, who could be characterized as N.....Paula was wrong...Paula Apologized....Paula should be left alone.

      June 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  15. janeatthegardengate

    So very short sighted on the part of The Food Network. I'm speechless. Really? I think if you look into the pasts of just about anyone – including anyone at the food network – you'd learn that everyone – and that's everyone without exception – has made some kind of unkind remark in their past. To make an example out of Paula is assanine. We will not be watching The Food Network in our home anymore. As of today it is banned!

    June 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  16. Janie

    I can see what happened here. Paula Dean used the N word 40 years ago and was honest about it. Because she's conservative, the networks are using this as an excuse to cruicfy her. Meanwhile, Hillary Ror-A-Man Clinton commits murder and lies about it, carries the liberal torch and is heralded by the media. Double standard? You bet! And it's an extremely wicked double standard.

    June 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Jordan Boudway

      yeah...but she also used it very recently according to the lawsuit against her. And she also planned a "plantation themed" wedding complete with black men dressed as serving slaves.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • karlblessing

      If it was 40 years ago she said it, no biggie, but it's more recent than that ,plus wanting to have a plantation style wedding for her brother with all the servers being black , and not being able to see what's wrong with that also seems to be a bit 'off'. And her firm's initial response was more or less a non-apology, which only made things worse, it mainly came about due to a employment discrimination lawsuit against her.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • DocCutty

      I support both H. Clinton–the GOP has nothing–and Paula Deen, who has made some mistakes, recognizes them, and is genuinely remorseful. That you have chosen this forum and this topic to spew your hate and nonsense is bizarre.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Cherries

      You're not fit to wipe Hilary's ass...OR Paula Deen's, for that matter. Eye on the ball here, moron.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • marta Paglianni

      WHo did HClinton murdered? That is news to me. Are you saying she invaded a land, like WAR CRIMES Bush and Cheney, based on lies and had over 100,000 innocent Iraqi babies, women and men killed? THe only thing I agree with you is that there wasnt any reason for the Food Network to let her go. Every body had said those words here and there and blacks used it more than anyone else.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Babs

      Jordan Boudway

      yeah...but she also used it very recently according to the lawsuit against her. And she also planned a "plantation themed" wedding complete with black men dressed as serving slaves.

      Thank you @Jordan Boudway
      most people keep missing this part. We're not talking about something that she said 40 years ago.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Brandon

      I use it 20 times a day and I can care less if it offends people. If they cant stop being such wimps and deal with it they they arent tough enough to live in this country. It's a word and they need to grow up and deal with it. After all, it's not the people that are making a big deal out of it it's the liberal race baiting media. You can go on CNN.com everyday and find 3 redic stories about racism that is made up by them in order to divide people.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  17. Brad

    The 60's were a different time. Culture always shapes what is considered okay. Using the N word was more widely considered 'okay' back in the day. Do we all forget that? Forgetting that fact is a huge slap in the face of the progress that has been made.

    June 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • DocCutty

      /Thank you.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • sam

      Apparently, if you've ever said something bad regardless of time or circumstance, you are guilty forever.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  18. Bostontola

    We should respect people. PC is out of control. Food network is within their rights to be cowardly.

    June 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  19. Mousse

    Paula should make a dark and white chocolate mousse, with some raspberry and strawberries.

    June 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

      Delete word N and start referring to word muslim, ignorant, both have the same meanings.

      June 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  20. Miss Chocolate Mom

    This would never have happened if we had deleted words starting with N.

    Everything would be yes or maybe, too.

    June 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Yeah, it would be helpful if black people wouldn't say it too. Want a word deleted? Everyone has to stop saying it.

      June 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Brandon

      Black people use this against us because they know it works. They can literally get a pass for anything they do by playing the race card. It is becoming more and more frequent and less and less effective bc people are starting to realize that it is bull crap.

      June 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Alias


      July 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
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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.