Introducing Mrs. Dora Charles

Dora Charles

Please take a moment to stare at the Black lady shown in the above picture. Do you see her standing in front of her mobile home? There is something seriously wrong with this picture. Can you guess what the problem is………..?

If you haven’t figured out the answer, allow me to formally introduce Mrs. Dora Charles, the key to Paula Deen’s cooking success. We all knew that this black woman existed; but unfortunately, we had no evidence to support our theory until now. The problem with the picture above is that Paula Deen is living in a gigantic mansion on massive land surrounded by ponds with additional cottages that she uses as a bed and breakfast, and the woman she made promises to and called her soul sister is living in a trailer!

Mrs. Charles has come forward and revealed more of Paula Deen’s slavery methodology. “Something is not right about this. We were soul sisters.” She stated, because that is what Paula Deen called her black cook from the start, even before the books and the television shows and the millions of dollars.

For 22 years, Mrs. Charles was the queen of the Deen kitchens. She helped open the Lady & Sons, the restaurant that made Paula Deeen’s career. She developed recipes, trained other cooks and made sure everything down to the collard greens tasted right.

“If it’s a Southern dish,” Paula Deen once said, “you better not put it out unless it passes this woman’s tongue.”

Mrs. Charles spent years making less than $10 an hour, even after Paula became a Food Network star. And there were tough moments. She said Paula used racial slurs. Once she wanted Mrs. Charles to ring a dinner bell in front of the restaurant, hollering for people to come and get it.

“I said, ‘I’m not ringing no bell,’ ” Mrs. Charles said. “That’s a symbol to me of what we used to do back in the day.”

For a black woman in Savannah with a ninth-grade education, though, it was good steady work. And Paula, she said, held out the promise that together, they might get rich one day.

Now Paula is reaping what she sowed as she is fighting empire-crushing accusations of racism, while Mrs. Charles is home nursing a bad shoulder caused by all of her hard years of service working for a wanna-be slave master, living in an aging trailer home on the outskirts of Savannah.

“It’s just time that everybody knows that Paula Deen don’t treat me the way they think she treat me,” she said. Good for you Mrs. Charles for speaking the truth.

Paula ran a restaurant in a Best Western hotel when Mrs. Charles, newly divorced and tired of fast-food kitchens, walked in and auditioned by cooking her version of Southern food. Paula saw dollar signs and hired her immediately. Their birthdays are a day apart, so they celebrated together. When Paula catered parties to survive until they could open the Lady & Sons, Mrs. Charles hustled right beside her.

“If I lost Dora, I would have been devastated,” Paula wrote in her 2007 memoir, “It Ain’t All About the Cooking.”

Early on, Mrs. Charles claims, Ms. Deen made her a deal: “Stick with me, Dora, and I promise you one day if I get rich you’ll get rich.”
Now, Mrs. Charles said, she wished she had gotten that in writing. “I didn’t think I had to ’cause we were real close back then,” she said.

That is where the two women’s stories diverge. Paula, through her publicity team, offered a statement denying all of Mrs. Charles’s accusations: “Fundamentally Dora’s complaint is not about race but about money. It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen. ”

What is more, the document states, Paula “provided guidance and support through the many ups and downs of Mrs. Charles’s life.” GTFOHWTBS Paula!

Investigators for the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition have spoken to Mrs. Charles. Robert Patillo, a lawyer for the coalition, visited Savannah in June and July to interview Ms. Deen’s restaurant employees, including Mrs. Charles, who still works at the Lady & Sons. The 20 or so others Mr. Patillo spoke with were divided on the conditions for black and white workers. Some said there was bias against blacks, while others said the Lady & Sons was a terrific place to work. The Rainbow PUSH report said, “There was evidence of systemic racial discrimination and harassment at the operations.” But, it went on to say, “there is limited evidence of direct racism or racial discrimination” by Ms. Deen.

Mrs. Charles says she is not expecting any money from Ms. Deen, especially not now.

“I’m not trying to portray that she is a bad person,” she said. “I’m just trying to put my story out there that she didn’t treat me fairly and I was her soul sister.”

Mrs. Charles’s family and friends got jobs with Paula, including Ineata Jones, whom everyone called Jellyroll. She ended up as close to Paula as Mrs. Charles was. Paula used Ms. Jones for restaurant theater. At 11 a.m., when the doors opened at the Lady & Sons, she stood in front and rang an iron dinner bell, something she had asked Mrs. Charles to do as well. An image of Ms. Jones doing just that was turned into a postcard sold at Paula Deen stores.
Ms. Jones was also in charge of making hoecakes, the cornmeal pancakes served to every guest. Paula had designed a station so diners could watch them being made. At both jobs, Mrs. Charles and other employees said, Ms. Deen wanted Ms. Jones to dress in an old-style Aunt Jemima outfit.

In 2010, Lisa T. Jackson, a white manager working at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, the restaurant Paula set up for her brother, Earl Hiers, known as Bubba, voiced claims of racism and sexual harassment in the Deen empire.

Her complaints form the basis of a federal lawsuit winding through the court system. Paula’s deposition, in which she admitted to using a racial slur, led to devastating losses in her fortunes as several marketing partners, including four casino restaurants, the Food Network, her book publisher, Walmart and the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, stopped working with her.

Ms. Jackson told Mrs. Charles that she was paid less than others who helped run the kitchen and who had not been there as long. Those people were white. Ms. Jackson introduced her to S. Wesley Woolf, the Savannah lawyer who would go on to file the suit.

Mr. Woolf helped Mrs. Charles and three other employees file complaints with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency will not make public the results of those complaints.

Around that time, Jamie Deen, the son who now runs the flagship restaurant, put Mrs. Charles on a salary of about $71,000 a year. Whether that decision was connected to the E.E.O.C. complaint remains in dispute. Mr. Deen says it was not. He gave her a bonus and the title of quality control manager. He even said the family would fix a rotting floor in her mobile home.
And, documents show, he reminded her to keep contributing to the company retirement plan, which Ms. Deen says she set up with Mrs. Charles in mind.

So Mrs. Charles went back to work, using the money to catch up on bills and help care for her four grandchildren. She did not press matters in court because, she said, she did not want the mess.

“I didn’t have nobody to stand behind me,” she said.

Lawyers on both sides of the suit are stockpiling statements.

Mrs. Charles realizes that her time with Paula Deen is over, and that she will soon leave her kitchen. But the relationship will always be there.

“I still have to be her friend if I’m God’s child,” she said. “I might feed her with a long-handled spoon, but, yeah, I’m still her friend.”

Ginger’s Thoughts – So a white woman had to help Mrs. Charles and three other employees after Jesse Jackson Push investigators left the matter unsolved. A civil right’s leader thought it was ok for Mrs. Charles to be under-paid and over-worked living in a trailer while the Deen family balled out of control. Now I understand why Jesse was kissing Paula’s ass. I lose respect for this man daily! Paula, eventually this situation will be behind you, and you will want it to remain behind you to never be brought up again. Now you know how we feel!


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