(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity chef Paula Deen has reportedly hired a public relations big wig to help her deal with the controversy sparked by her admission that she's used the N-word in the past. The New York Post reports Deen has hired Judy Smith, a crisis public relations professional who has represented Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick.
Smith is the inspiration for the TV character Olivia Pope, a Washington, D.C., damage control expert, on the hit ABC series, Scandal.
An Us Weekly source confirmed the hiring, telling the magazine, "It's good, because only Olivia Pope could help her now."
The controversy was sparked by a lawsuit filed by a former employee at Deen's Savannah, Ga., restaurant, who claims racial and sexual harassment by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, while working for them.
Deen's attorney denies the claims, but in a suit-related deposition last month, Deen responded, "I'm sure I have" when asked if she'd also used the N-word since being robbed, adding, "but it's been a very long time."
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