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. lively and courteous discussion

    Obscene: a white person using a word to desribe a black person

    No one cares if someone describes a white person

    June 22, 2013 at 7:01 am |
    • billy blank

      H onky (cnn cares)

      June 22, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • lively and courteous discussion

      Nobody cares. You won't get fired for calling a white person anything. Make up words if you like, it won't matter.

      It only matters if someone tells you to care about it. That's why blacks can say the N word, because no one ever tells them not to say it, just that a white person can't say it to them. They were told to care in only one instance, so they do.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 22, 2013 at 6:20 am |
    • Science

      Hey dot/captain ass hat bite the bucket and find out.

      DNA tests reveal Prince William's Indian ancestry

      By Peter Wilkinson, CNN

      updated 12:48 PM EDT, Fri June 14, 2013


      June 22, 2013 at 6:30 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      What does prayer have to do with this article?

      June 22, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • Colin

      Better question what does liar prefails have to do with anything?

      June 22, 2013 at 6:38 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Captain Ass: Why steal Colin's alias? We know Colin is not scum, you are on the other hand are a VERY different story.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • Brian

      Controlled scientific studies have proven beyond doubt that prayer changes nothing at all.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • _

      Prayer is the most incredible journey someone could go on.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • Colin

      You don't know sh it liar prefails. You've proved you're a useless ass hole repeatedly. Colin would't give you the time of day, Colin is way too self involved to give a sh it about anyone but Colin and i should know I'm Colin.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • billy blank

      Without prayer there would be no science.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Colin is not a loser. Colin is not hateful. Colin doesn't speak out against Canadian's. Stop trying to act like Colin and grow up little one, only children steal other peoples aliases.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • Colin

      No I ain't, but you sure as hell are.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:25 am |
  3. Carlton

    Racist? Maybe, maybe not, but there is truth in Matt. 15:18.

    June 22, 2013 at 5:43 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Posting scripture doesn't point to truth of any form, just your lack of ability to think for yourself.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • Colin

      liar prefails is full of bull sh it and totally irrelevant to our issues

      June 22, 2013 at 6:21 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Captain Ass: Stealing Colin's alias only makes you look like the loser you're well known as, it doesn't hurt him any. This has nothing to do with political issues, this is the Food Network-a Network seem by many more than you. Now I get that you have never used a dictionary but find one, look up the word international and then ask to be taken back to the asylum...the blog is wonderfully peaceful without you acting like a hateful ass.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • LiarPrefails :-}

      I am nothing but a foreign loser useless to my own nation and worse than a diseased rat to my neighbors . I think I am oh so smart and that just everyone needs to read my bull sh it. Probably the only ones I impress are myself and other mental defectives.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Oh Captain Ass, when are you going to grow up and stop the Xenophobia?

      June 22, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • LiarPrefails :-}

      Everybody look at me! I so desperately crave attention no one in my own country listens to me, see all the big words I use. I must be important to someone somewhere. Please notice me.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:17 am |
  4. ronvan

    WHY? Is it that we can be so critical on some things and ignore others? Some of OUR "elected children" have done wrong and yet we re elect them. Even though we overreact, to often, to the use of the "N" word it is used on a daily basis!
    IF you look up the origin of the "N" word you will find that over time its meaning has changed along with its spelling. In todays modern world WE, make a conclusion that to use it makes you a racist. Not always true! YES, racism is alive, just that people have tried to "hide" it as they know how it will affect them today. IF ANYONE has a "right" to use this term it would be black people! HOWEVER, I would prefer that this particular word would disappear totally.

    June 22, 2013 at 5:40 am |
  5. Vic

    Way overboard sensitivity by the Food Network (maybe an excuse) and too much publicity stunt by the National Enquirer (no surprise there!) Making a real difference in people's lives transcends silly remarks that don't mean anything! I wonder how many people will be put out of work because of this!

    June 22, 2013 at 4:26 am |
  6. utuscttus

    This has got to be the most important news story of the decade!

    June 22, 2013 at 2:30 am |
  7. troy

    Let me educate the non-black masses on something that they need to know. There is a distinct difference between the word "ni*gg*er" and "ni*gg*AH".

    People of all colors use the later version (the version that ends in AH) as a term of affection and comraderie. It is a staple in the urban high school and hip hop culture, and it has absolutely no bearing whatsover on race. As a high school teacher, I've heard Asians students call each other n***AH. Same for whites and hispanics (although hispanics usually use the term "Fool", which is the Latino version of n**AH).

    Now, when the word is use with the ER ending, the usage is 100% racial. AH ending, 100% non-racial. So please, stop comparing rappers/comedians usage of the AH version of the word with the typical bigot's ER version. Remember- n***ER = insult....n***AH = friendship. Don't try to make sense of it, it is what it is.

    June 22, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • Dippy

      Wow. Thanks for the language lesson. Nigger, bad. Niggah, good. Thank you. To me, they're both bad.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • Tracie McMillan

      ... and the source for your information is?

      June 22, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • troy

      @Tracie, living in Los Angeles, being 45 years old, and being African American all my life. I'm surprised at the number of white folks don't know the difference between the AH and ER version of the word.

      Don't believe me, do this...listen to a few rap songs or listen to some old Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor stand up routines and count the number of times you hear them say the ER version of the word, which will be ZERO. Then, do the same for the AH version...

      June 22, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • Loretta

      Thank you Troy. Unfortunately I am one of those white persons you speak of. God Bless

      June 22, 2013 at 5:28 am |
    • venusmiranda

      It's silly how one word can be rasist and the other a term of endearment. BOTH words should NOT be used..Out of all of the words english language "ni*gg*AH". is the most popular word to fit in ones senctences.. And for it to be given an excuse as a term of endearment is ignorant. I know our ancesters would be rolling in their graves hearing either word on repeat daily.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:32 am |
  8. Tom

    Food Networks loss. Someone will snap her right up and their rating will soar. Stupid move FN!!

    June 22, 2013 at 1:45 am |
  9. William

    He who is without sin; throw stones. I am proud of my African descent and she said it was her past. Let it stay in the past. Her present is better now.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:38 am |
  10. Mike

    our whole family loves her, she has lot of sense of humors. Food Network please renews her contract. People say things they do and don't mean it sometimes but for her I see harmless funny friendly human being.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  11. JAN


    June 22, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • Dippy

      Turn off your caps lock, Jan. I really looks stupid. And alot is not a word.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • Dippy

      Sorry, "it".

      June 22, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • Grammar Police

      Hey Dippy, I think you had it right the first time.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:13 am |
  12. PETER913

    She's getting "Don Imused."

    June 22, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  13. MN

    What person, regardless of nationality has not used these type words before? Especially before the 1960s. Come on, I have heard many black people talk badly about themselves,,,,,,another word they use to describe themselves is Chocolate!! If I were black, I would definitely not use the word African-American to describe myself. That is an insult because most of the black people are not African, but Americans! So, why do you call people, WHITE? Then, you too, are racist.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:29 am |

      Let me tell you a true incident, my frank conversation with a black guy, I have known for years.
      One day I met him, and asked a frank question, John, a lot of people come from other countries and they make it very well in USA, without having aNY prior knowledge of system or American way of life, but majority of Blacks do not. He smiled and and explained in his own way, HE CURSED INVENTION OF REMOTE CONTROL AND SAID, N LEARNED TO USE REMOTE CONTROL TO TURN ON TV AND CHANGE CHANNELS, AND SAT DOWN ON A SOFA, BUT HE NEVER GOT UP TO DO ANY THING ELSE. NEITHER HE WANTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS DEEDS.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • Athy

      How did he take a shit?

      June 22, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • Doc1

      Have you ever considered that most of the people who come from other countries are the more motivated of their race? That for every one of them there are probably 100 back in their homeland who are very lazy? Think about that for a minute. .

      June 22, 2013 at 12:59 am |

      John, laughed, by the way lazy one never made it to USA, nor they expect state to come to their help, supported by family members, not tax payers.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  14. Um...Hello

    Racist give money to black causes...It's called guilt money! If it looks like a, talks like a, then it probably is a...You fill in the blank.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  15. Rockboy106@yahoo.com

    Boy..this is like the Salem Witch Hunts..or the Scarlet Letter...maybe the good that will come out of this is just how ridiculous this whole thing is..but in the meantime black builles and white liberals are terrorizing this poor woman....this not right!!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:24 am |

      One has to wonder, if it is OK to curse religions, GOD and every thing one wishes to, or upset , why one can not use N words and few other word to relieve his frustration. Why one has to face censorship, or be accused of bias to talk about N ism hinduism, ignorance of some one.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Doc1

      You forgot white bullies, white gun toting kooks who shoot up schools and movie theaters, and white 'conservatives' who terrorize abortion clinics. The list of dysfunctional whites goes on. People in general can be bad regardless of race. Pull your head out of your backside.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Loretta

      Hey I'm a white liberal and I am not " are terrorizing this poor woman" ! I think her Pastor friend nailed it, who hasn't used that word? Not proud of it, just a fact. Get the emotion out of it.

      June 22, 2013 at 5:33 am |
  16. Jose

    Lil Wayne just said the N word. I hope his record label drops him for offending the African American population.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Brandon

      I know you're trying to be sarcastic, but, yes, it offends me as a black person when Little Wayne uses the "n" word.

      What, does that surprise you?

      June 22, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Doc1

      It's called context. You may want to learn the meaning of that word. I'm sick and tired of non blacks trying to justify the n word by using rappers and comedians as an example.

      PS, I assume you're Latino. I've heard a lot of terms used by them in jest that I would not use. Simply because I have common sense. Something you seem to lack.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  17. ffortnightly

    She is white, so she is automatically assumed to be a "racist". Naturally that term doesn't apply to any other race, so it has become the "n| g g e r" of the modern age. I only wonder what McCarthy would have thought of this?

    June 22, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • oOo

      She is NOT white. She's kind of a dull orange.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • smjdel

      No, people don't think she's racist because she's white, it's because she uses racial epithets and repeats racist jokes and excuses herself by saying that's just the era in which she was brought up.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Loretta

      @oOo LOL thank you we needed that.

      June 22, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • Colin

      Wake up and smell the coffee ni ggers exist.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:32 am |
  18. Pastor Isaac

    I don't condone Paula's actions, especially since she is nationally known. However, she did ask for forgiveness, so now do we become the judge and the jury on where her heart truly lays? I'm amazed how people will crucified our white brothers and sisters when they openly make derogatory statements, then sit in front of the TV and watch blacks actors call each other those same names, just to get a laugh. I’m sorry we can’t have it both ways. Yes I’m a black man that forgave Paula’s actions, because I know that what Jesus will do.

    June 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Doc1

      I'm sure there are many who forgive her, but if you can't understand the difference between a white person using the n word in public and a black person like a rapper or a comedian, then you are lost. I'll give you an example: I've lived most of my adult life in the south and I've hear the term 'white trash' used in jest by southern whites, yet I would not use the term myself. Get it?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  19. Chino

    He is an idiot. She is full of sh$t 24/7!

    June 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Colin

      But she knows enough to call a spade a spade.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  20. wazuri77

    i respect her more for her honesty even if she came across as a racist bigot...

    June 21, 2013 at 11:38 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.