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Paula Deen scandal sparking conversation

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The latest scandal to rock Paula Deen's multi-million dollar food empire may be sparking a discussion that some Savannians say is long overdue. 

Deen, who became famous for her Southern charm, southern food, and southern twang, admitted, while under oath, to using the N-word.

She's faced her share of criticism before, but this time it's had a huge impact on her career, and it could have an impact on Savannah.

WTOC has reached out to the mayor and other political leaders in Savannah for their comments, and, either they haven't returned calls or they say they will not comment on this particular matter. The son of the late Bennie Mitchell II, a leader in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, says politics may be the reason no one wants to talk. But, he says they're going to have to speak up sooner or later.

"People don't really want to step on any toes because politics run deep and if you follow politics you'll follow the money," said Bennie Mitchell III.

Mitchell says this should be viewed as teaching opportunity for, not just Savannah, but for the entire country.

"We have to teach ourselves first," said Mitchell. "We have to teach our children. It starts with us, internally, not just us as black folks, but as Americans."

As for Paula, Mitchell says he agrees with the Food Network canceling her show. But, others feel the punishment is too harsh.

"It was inappropriate and she made a mistake. I don't think the Food Network should just kick her to the curb," said Anthony Haney.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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Paula Deen controversy

Click here to see documents related to the lawsuit against Paula Deen and her brother.