“Bubba talked to me like I was trash,” Sheldon J Ervin, the oyster cook who worked under Bubba from 2008 to 2010 at Bubba’s Oyster House in Savannah, tells RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview.
Of the racist behavior he witnessed, he says: “I’ve been trying to tell people about what kind of stuff was going over there and no one would listen to me. Paula was too powerful.”
In one instance, Bubba got mad at Sheldon over a small misunderstanding and things quickly turned racial.
“One day, Miss Paula had a book signing event at the restaurant and she gave me a signed picture for my grandmother because she was sick,” Sheldon explains.
“Her assistant put it on my station in the kitchen because I was in the middle of my shift, working. Bubba came in and saw the picture there and thought I was disrespecting Paula or something. He didn’t even let me explain before he started threatening my job.
“He talked to me like I was trash,” Sheldon remembers. “He disrespected me so bad. He didn’t use the ‘N’ word, but it was obvious he was talking around it because Lisa Jackson, the manager, was there watching.”
“Bubba said to me, ‘You people are all the same. You don’t appreciate it when people are trying to help you succeed in life. You’re always trying to make money off of people that are just trying to help you get ahead in the world.”
“I was so mad, I almost went to jail over that,” Sheldon recalls. “But I just kept telling myself, ‘Calm down. Don’t say nothing bad.’”
In another instance, one of Bubba’s favorite employees, a white man named Mike, was less circumspect with his racial assault on Sheldon.
“I got into it in the kitchen one day with a white dude named Mike,” Sheldon says. “I was trying to help him out where he was getting jammed during the rush, and he caught an attitude for some reason.”
“In front of everybody, he started yelling, ‘N****r’ this, ‘N****r that,” Sheldon remembers. “I’m thinking, OK, Paula and Bubba and Lisa are going to handle the situation. They sent him home, but he was right back at work the next day as if nothing happened.
“As time passed, I started getting madder and madder about how I was being treated, and I started complaining to Uncle Bubba and Lisa Jackson,” he says.
“They didn’t pay me no attention until finally they found some reason to get me out of there and get me fired.”
“I filed a suit,” Sheldon explains. “I went down to the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and I filed a complaint and they did nothing about it. I took all the procedures I was supposed to take and it didn’t matter. I’ve been trying to tell people about what kind of stuff was going over there and no one would listen to me. Paula was too powerful.”
But now, in the court of public opinion, justice has finally come for Paula and Bubba. Says Sheldon, “I am just super happy.”