Embattled TV chef Paula Deen has denied new racist allegations from an employee who has worked for her as a cook for more than 20 years.
The African-American cook, Dora Charles, alleges in a New York Times article
that she was promised generous pay increases if Deen's own businesses took off. But she claims that despite Deen's widespread success, she remained working for $10 per hour for many years and now lives in a run-down trailer.
Charles also alleged that Deen had used racial slurs and asked her to do things she considered demeaning, like ringing a dinner bell in front of the restaurant and urging customers to come in. "I said, 'I'm not ringing no bell,'" she told the Times.
"I'm not trying to portray that she is a bad person," Charles, told the Times. "I'm just trying to put my story out there that she didn't treat me fairly and I was her soul sister."
In the article, Charles also recites an anecdote in which Deen allegedly wanted another chef at her Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, GA -- a black female employee named Ineata Jones -- to dress up in an old-style Aunt Jemima outfit while making cornmeal pancakes in front of customers. Charles still works at Lady & Sons.
A spokesperson for Deen reacted to the latest claims Friday in an exclusive statement to ET: "Ms. Charles' 'issue' is about money, not race. She receives a salary of more than $70,000 per year, plus profit sharing and benefits. For 20 years she has been paid a fair wage for her work, but she feels she deserves even more money. She claimed to be a friend of Paula Deen's but is now trying to cash in on the current situation."