Paula Deen gave an emotional interview Wednesday morning on NBC’s Today show, sitting down with co-host Matt Lauer to discuss racial slurs and the fallout over the past week. During the interview she slammed what she called “horrible, horrible lies” about her. Watch the interview below.
Deen said of her appearance, “It feels so strange to come to this happy place where I always come so happy,” said the celebrity cook, who learned last Friday that the Food Network would not be renewing her contract. The news came after Deen said under oath that she had used the N-word in the past.
“Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No,” Deen said. “I am so very thankful for the partners I have who believe in me.”
Lauer wasted no time getting to the hard questions. “Are you a racist?” he asked. “No, I am not,” Deen, 66, said. “The day I used that word it was a world ago,” Deen added. “It was 30 years ago.”
Lauer then pushed a little harder, asking Deen if she had really only used the N-word one time in her entire life. Deen insisted she only uttered the word on one occasion — when talking about a customer who had burst into her office and put a gun to her head.
Deen went on to describe her upbringing. “As a child I was raised in a home that my father tolerated bad grades. He would tolerate maybe me breaking a curfew,” she said, noting that her family wouldn’t have tolerated her thinking she was better than anyone else.
“I believe that every creature on this Earth, every one of God’s creatures, was created equal,” she said. “… I believe that everyone ought to be treated equal.”
Deen was raised to never be unkind to anyone, she said. “I’ve had to hold friends in my arms while they’ve sobbed,” Deen said, crying. “Because they know what’s being said about me — it’s not true. And I’m having to comfort them, and tell them it’s going to be all right. If God got us to it, he’ll get us through it.”
She concluded by tearfully saying, “If there’s anyone out there who has never said anything they wish they could take back, then pick up that stone and throw it at my head so hard it kills me.
“I is what I is and I’m not changing.”
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