Paula Deen poses with sons Jamie (left) and Bobby (right) on Jan. 16, 2012. (Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)
(USA Today) -- Bobby and Jamie Deen are coming to the defense of their beleaguered celebrity chef mom, Paula Deen.
In an interview Tuesday, Bobby, 43, fired back about the racism controversy that has cost Deen her Food Network contract and her Smithfield Foods endorsement deal.
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"Our mother is one of the most compassionate, good-hearted, empathetic people that you'd ever meet," Bobby told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "These accusations are very hurtful to her, and it's very sad."
He added that he's "disgusted by the entire thing, because it began as extortion and it has become character assassination."
Jamie Deen, 45, said his parents taught him the story of his hero, baseball legend Hank Aaron, when he was a young boy. They explained that "the challenges (Aaron) had to overcome because of his color was unacceptable."