Exclusive: Paula Deen Denies New Racist Claims

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Exclusive: Paula Deen Denies New Racist Claims

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

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"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."

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