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. sieben13

    Amazing how easily Black people are fooled by RACIST

    June 22, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • xfacto

      You can be a kind person and still be a racist. And I will continue to flourish in the south as long as you have these ignorant pastor's in the south selling this crap to it's congregations. Ok you had your 15 mins of fame. Go pick up your check from Paula and STFU. What he should've said was white folks in the south think caller a man boy or "Ni**a is the norm and we's know no better.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  2. keltic1

    "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us......."

    June 22, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  3. Sarah Palin

    There is always an "UNCLE TOM" on the plantation! – The 44th President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama is proof that the world of racist, redneck, ignorant bigots like PAULA DEEN is "Gone With The Wind" NEVER to return – Who wants to bet she STOLE 90% of her recopies from Southern Black women who she never paid – not a single one of her recipes came from Europe – all southern cooking came from the African American's who did all of the cooking for the elite Southern plantation owners! There should be a class action lawsuit against PAULA DEEN for plagiarism, theft, and being a White racist who got rich ripping off Black cooks and chefs!

    June 22, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • xfacto

      You are correct. Paula was still pushing her agenda of unhealthy cooking 3 yrs after she found out she was a diabetic. Eventually you are going to have to settle when make a deal with the devil.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  4. lol??

    So the pastor is tryin' to save her job to save his?? The A&A's sure have caused a lot of pwoblems by givin' their little bwains excuses to be jerks with the concept of racism. DDDddaaaaaaaaaahhhhwin, go to yer room!!

    June 22, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Austin

      i thought this was about name calling and not racism.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  5. Onlovesside

    It appears people are upset about the double standard...why can black use the term but whites can't? This is part of the stereotypes, and social structure that we as Americans have built. Whites are considered racist, discriminative and will always almost be the subject of hate crimes....EVEN when we know its not true that every white person is a racist. Blacks and Lations are considered gang bangers, lazy, etc EVEN when we know that its ridiculous to say all black people are like that. Paula Deen getting dinged for using the word while others use it freely is part of the social structure we as Americans have built. she is paying a hefty price for it (whether you think its fair or unfair)...just like minorities get harsher sentences for the same crimes as whites. So, do the patriotic thing....walk away from the computer....go and look in the mirror and ask yourself...Am I part of the PROBLEM, or am I part of the SOLUTION? The answer should tell you what kind of America you should expect to live in!

    June 22, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • AMERIACA2020

      good point, i'm done . people only change if they chhose to.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • lol??

      What the socie scientists have given the people for rehab in prison:

      1)skinhead gangs
      2)black gangs
      3)latino gangs

      Make yer choice and praise the socie educratists.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  6. RickF

    Give her a break. I saw and heard her apology which, in my opinion, was heartfelt. Everybody deserves a second chance. Hell, criminals get a second chance all the time. Everybody is trying to make soup out of plain water.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  7. AMERIACA2020


    June 22, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  8. AMERIACA2020

    SORRY larry maybe you should use spell check makes you look like an idiot

    June 22, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Colin

      Perhaps you should use the reply function to make you look less like an idiot.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • AMERIACA2020

      wHo CarEs.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  9. faith

    thanks for standing up for your friend pastor

    June 22, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  10. consumerjoe

    Everyone has said that word. If you say you haven't, you are a liar too. You can't sing a rap song, ask what it means or read a lot of books without saying it out loud or at least in your mind. This woman should not be crucified in the media for telling the truth. The real question she should have been asked (and you have to answer for yourself) is: "Do you use that word to negatively describe or disparage another human being by the color of his skin?" If the answer is yes, then you are a racist. If no, then you're not. Now leave Paula Deen alone. The media needs to quit trying to make everyone feel guilty for what it thinks you're thinking... think about that.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  11. lively and courteous N word discussion

    This is funny, admit it

    June 22, 2013 at 8:55 am |
  12. move

    Society still doesnt even consider black people to be full americans..They still call us "African Americans" what kind of crap is that.. Why not call white people european Americans.. Ther eis no reacon to call born bread americans African Americans..This is my country as well. I didnt just come from Africa and recieved a green card..its all a bunch of bull

    June 22, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • ln

      Seriously? The only reason I've ever referred to black people as "African-American" is because there was a time in the not-too-distant past when a lot of black people became highly offended if you innocently referred to them as "black." I don't know how many times I was corrected with an abrupt, "It's African-American!" So, I tried to remember this and use the supposedly correct term so as not to offend. Now it's apparently offensive to say "African-American," and we're back to using "black." Don't confuse people and then complain about it.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Rolo

      That was started by black people and I agree that it doesn't make sense. I never really understood why people did that. There is nothing wrong with being black.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ann

      Plus, it makes it confusing. What are you supposed to call a black person who is not an American? How about Marcus Samuelson – is he an African-Swede?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  13. move

    im from the south..grew up here.. so much racism still exist.. If you will not allow a family member, daughter, brother..whoever to date outside there race, youre a racist..alot of that goes on in the south..that racism is embeded in white people because of tehe history of racism..not saying its all white people but its definitely there..ive experienced this first hand..over and over again..and i wasnt born in the 60 era so this issue is still going on..racism is still alive just covered up with smiles

    June 22, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Rolo

      The south moved north and the north moved south so its not just the south. There are a lot of racists every where mostly because there seems to be an agenda by political leaders to keep it that way. Think about it. You've got all these people pointing out race to get your vote. It's almost a brainwashing. I was in a Walmart a few years back and a woman was trying to buy a shirt but it didn't have a tag on it. The lady behind the counter followed the rules at Walmart at the time and called for a price check. The customer became irate. Both the lady behind the counter and the customer were black. The customer told the lady behind the counter that she was just doing that because she (the customer) was black. Then she said "but I see your black too ". My point is that not every thing is caused by racism and the race card needs to go. I'm stating this in reference to your comments and not Paula deans. Like it or not, there was an entire army from the north that had tons of white people in it that fought to end slavery. There were tons of white people that voted for our current president. There are many white people who have read the presidents book and disagree with his theories on how a government should be or how finances should be. They are not racists to disagree with him politically. When Clinton or bush were in office the rhetoric from the opposing party were just as intense as it is today. The race card was never used as a matter of convenience to win the argument. Soon no ones going to believe the charges of racism and that would be a tragedy because unfortunately there are actual racists that exist. However, there are a lot of people accused of racism over misunderstandings. Again -no reference to Paula dean. What? Am I no longer supposed to be friends with black people because some politician wants to keep the race baiting going so that he can have votes? You are correct – there is a whole manipulative accusation of racism for those who don't date outside of their own circle. Eddie Murphy in the 90's spoke about only dating black women. I don't know if he still follows that policy but I don't see what's wrong with it. A man should date ho he is attracted to or can relate to.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Rolo

      That was : a man should date WHO he is attracted to. – not "ho". Sorry.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  14. Captain America

    I admit that I am posting as Colin. I am not capable of thinking for myself and wish I could be near as intelligent as Colin but alas I can't hide any longer. If you see me post as Colin, please know it is only me living in my fantasy world again.

    June 22, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Colin

      Here's a thought go fvck yourself.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • captain america

      Yeah ya phony whatever Colin says. There's your sign

      June 22, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  15. AMERIACA2020


    June 22, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Larry

      Get rid of that shift lock.. All those caps amke it look like you're screaming.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Sarah Palin

      What does rap have to do with a racist, redneck like "PAULA DEEN" who never listened to a rap song in her life have to do with anythig??? She probably picked it up from Hank Williams Jr., Ted Nugent or at a KKK/Tea Party losers convention – Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin used to joke around and call each other "Dagos" – I would have loved to see you call Sinatra a Dago to his face – lol – You're so smart – Why don't you call Jay-Z or Will Smith N*g*er to their face – Go ahead I dare you...!!!

      June 22, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  16. Truth Prevails :-)

    I see Captain America has resorted to a new low by pretending to be Colin. Cute that he envies Colin enough to wish to be him but the difference is that Captain America wouldn't have the balls to fight for his country.

    June 22, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • Colin

      By the way you missed the reply key again genius.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      If I intended to hit the reply button I would have done so Captain Ass, instead I made an individual post just to irritate you and point out one more of your psychotic episodes.
      In the end I really don't give a rats ass what you think, this is an international website and I will continue to post here. If you have such an issue, I suggest you take it up with Ted Turner or return to a site that shares your uninformed opinion-FOX.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Colin

      You're a card carrying phony and twice as useless in your weaseling out on your errors. Go kiss a pig.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • just one dering

      If liarprefails and a pig kiss how could you tell which one was the pig?

      June 22, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • Colin

      The pig would have more class.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Colin

      I'd say the pig was the smart one but then again what would be intelligent about lip locking liar prefails.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Science

      Wow capy not happy this morning remember where it gets sent .

      June 22, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • just one dering

      Where is capy on this tread?

      June 22, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Science

      Capy is below and above

      June 22, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • just one dering

      Searched all over still found no one posting as capy.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Colin

      Moderation my ass. Denying freedom of speech by unAmerican commie pinko ba stards.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  17. lively and courteous discussion

    There is no 'get fired' word for whites... because whites don't care about being white.

    Nobody trained whites to care.

    June 22, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • billy blank

      Quality world leadership and domination since 1066.

      June 22, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    June 22, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • lonomoholo

      No. No it doesn't. Prayer does nothing as there is likely no sky daddy to pray to. You are here for a short while, will die and that is the end. Enjoy life while you have the chance.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Colin

      Yes. Prayer changes things.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  19. ln

    She's a big, bloated, greedy fake pig who charmed America's sheep by using lots of butter and saying "y'all" a whole lot. She's made millions by clogging the arteries of the nation even though she secretly knew about her own diabetes. She loves her empire, so now that's it's been dealt a blow, she's scrambling to make amends with her phony apology videos. Now it seems many of her sheep want to excuse her good ole' southern belle ignorance by claiming, "Oh, everyone uses (or has used) the N word." Well, I certainly don't and was raised not to. When I hear someone else do so, it makes me sick. This isn't a simple "Oh, she admitted to using a racist word in the past, so let's fire her." Don't be so naive. There is more to the story for sure. Her blinding white smile, glowing pink skin and silver tinsel hair have never duped me to the fact this woman is an ego-driven Miss Piggy. We can finally see the chinks in her airbrushed veneer showing. It was inevitable. I pray for the day when I'm standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and don't have to be assaulted by the usual photos of her (which always look exactly the same) leaping from the front pages of the rags.

    June 22, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • Libsrtyrants

      You're post testifies that you have in fact used the N-word.You almost mustered up the courage and sincerity to admit as much.
      Yet, here you are judging and condemning someone for being honest about it in themselves and apologizing for it.

      You should change your mind (repent) about this.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • ln

      Libstyrants: Please step down from your self-righteous pulpit. So, by expressing my disgust with this one particular celebrity and what I feel is her true nature, I'm an "n-word" user? Perhaps if you're going to state something that doesn't make clear sense than you should probably explain why you drew such a conclusion. I don't and have always been against using racial slurs and words like f*g and r*tard. Why? Because they mean nothing and are only meant to hurt others. Paula Deen didn't have any courage or sincerity. She was sued, and now she's frightened her cash flow will dwindle, so she's making videos with her syrupy sweet voice and big watery eyes claiming how sorry she is. Why now? BECAUSE SHE'S BEING SUED IS ALL. No other reason. No courage here -just backpedaling. Wake up.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  20. memyselfandi

    Exactly, what person has not used the "N", i'm not racist and I have used it, all these Rap singers have used it, does that mean they too are racist to their own kind. Whoever started all this nonsense should be fired from their job. I am so sick of people pulling the race card when something does not go their own way.

    June 22, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • Shayna

      What kind of person hasn't used the N word? Me, I haven't. Ever. I grew up in the Midwest & heard others use that word, but never in my home. There were other less derogatory words used to describe whether a person was Black or not – like Black. I was a child of the sixties, I fought for civil rights & against George Wallace. However, I still don't think that using that word some 40 yrs ago in the Deep South should be considered a crime today. People can & do learn & change. Even Wallace asked for forgiveness & he was once proud of being a racist bigot. Paula answered a question about her distant past truthfully & her friends of color have spoken for her. Enough already.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Libsrtyrants

      But you are a racist. All humans are. The truly dangerous ones are those who aren't honest enough with themselves to admit it.

      June 22, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • Erika

      What kind of people do you hang around if you do not know people who do not use the "N" word? I do not think rap singers set the standard for all black people. Maybe you should have a conversation with a black teacher, lawyer or doctor and ask if they use the "N" word.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:11 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.