I've heard lots of excuses. She's old. (She's only 66, for pity's sake.) She's southern and grew up using that word like it was normal. Blah blah blah. So what? I was raised in a house where we told off color jokes too. You know what we never did? Called people that. Never. Especially in public. Why? It's unforgivably rude. Even my grandmother, who didn't believe in socializing outside of public places with folks of a certain shade of melanin, didn't use that word unless someone was absolutely trash. Trash, which she was careful to explain to me, is found in every group of people on the planet.
The problem with her being unforgivably rude is that she was doing it as someone employer. She was in a position of power over that person and that is what makes this against federal employment laws. And all this stuff about whether or not she's a racist? Of course she is. We're all a little bit racist. Every last one of us in the whole human race. Edit: That doesn't make it right, and most people, sane people, nice people, try their asses off not to be because they know it's wrong. That doesn't mean we get to harass our employees and use unfogivably rude words at our business and plan 'plantation themed' weddings with black waiters.. It isn't right and it's illegal.
And Mrs. Deen, I should point out that being rude is a violation of the first rule of Southern hospitality: Thou shalt not make people feel uncomfortable. Obey.it.