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Paula Deen Closes Restaurant at Center of Harassment Lawsuit

"Thank you for 10 great years," Uncle Bubba's Oyster House told customers on its website.
Image: Celebrity cook Paula Deen
Celebrity cook Paula Deen. Dec. 10, 2007.Stephen Morton / AP, file
/ Source: Reuters

Celebrity chef Paula Deen's popular Savannah, Georgia, restaurant, which was at the center of a racially charged lawsuit against her, abruptly closed on Thursday after a decade in business.

"Thank you for 10 great years," Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, told customers on its website. "Uncle Bubba's is now closed."

A white employee of Uncle Bubba's sued Deen and her brother claiming she had been the victim of sexual harassment and that there was a pattern of racial discrimination against black employees at the restaurant.

Image: Bubba Hiers
Bubba Hiers, who is Paula Deen’s brother, and chef and owner of Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, in Savannah, Ga., serves customers on June 23, 2006.STEPHEN MORTON / AP, file

Deen said in a deposition in the case that she had used a racial slur, which prompted Scripps Networks Interactive Inc to drop her cooking show from its cable television channel, the Food Network.

The controversy prompted companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Corp and Home Depot Inc to stop selling Deen products.

A federal judge last summer dismissed the lawsuit.

Hiers closed the restaurant "in order to explore development options for the waterfront property on which the restaurant is located," Jaret Keller, spokesman for the Deen family, said in a written statement.

"At this point, no specific plans have been announced and a range of uses are under consideration in order to realize the highest and best use for the property."

Keller declined to comment on whether the restaurant's closure was related to the lawsuit.

- Reuters