updated 06/25/2013 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 06/25/2013 AT 11:15 AM ET
“That word, that horrifying, terrible word that exists and I abhor it coming from any person … we weren’t raised in a home where that word was used,” Bobby Deen told CNN’s New Day program on Tuesday – referring to the N-word, which Paula Deen has admitted in a legal deposition to having used in the past.
“Neither one of our parents ever taught us to be bigoted toward any other person for any reason,” he added. “Our mother is one of the most compassionate, good-hearted, empathetic people that you’d ever meet. These accusations are very hurtful to her, and it’s very sad.”
The scandal has cost Deen her contract with the Food Network and an endorsement deal with the pork company Smithfield. Deen’s sons’ shows – Not My Mama’s Meals with Bobby Deen on the Cooking Channel and Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen on Food Network – will not be affected, however.
The brothers, who appeared on the cover of PEOPLE in January after they and Paula all lost weight together, also denied the allegations made in a lawsuit of discrimination and racism at two of Deen’s restaurants.
“[It’s] ridiculous – completely absurd – to think there is an environment of racism in our business, and it’s really disrespectful to the people that we work with,” said Jamie. “We have strong, educated men and women of character that have been with us for five, 10, 15, 20 years. To think they would allow themselves to be in this position is simply baloney. It’s ridiculous.”
“I’m disgusted by the entire thing, because it began as extortion and it has become character assassination,” Bobby added.
Watch the interview below: