Paula Deen Breaks Down On 'Today Show' - 'Someone Evil Wanted What I Worked For'
As promised, former Food Network personality Paula Deen appeared on "The Today Show" Wednesday morning to discuss her current situation and defend herself against those who have been referring to her as a racist.
"Are you a racist?" host Matt Lauer bluntly asked during the interview.
"No. No I'm not..." Deen answered. "As A child I was raised in a home that... my father tolerated bad grades, he would tolerate maybe me breaking a curfew; but he told me -- he said, 'girl, if I ever find out that you have behaved in a way where you think you're better than others or have been unkind, your butt is gonna be mine.'"
Deen and her brother/business partner Bubba Hiers are currently being sued for $1.2 million by a former manager of their Savannah, Georgia, restaurant who claims that the two have used racial slurs and that Hiers viewed pornography on the office computer while she was present.
The TV chef testified via a court deposition last week, admitting that she has used the n-word in the past. She came under fire from the media and critics alike afterward and was branded a racist.
"I answered the question truthfully," Deen told Lauer about the deposition, explaining that despite all the racist allegations she's only used the n-word one time in her entire "66 years" and that was during a bank robbery. "It was 30 years ago," she said.
Deen, who was recently let go by the Food Network and Smithfield Brands, says that no one should be using the word.
"It’s very distressing for me to go into my kitchens, and I hear what these young people are calling each other," she said. "I think that for this problem to be worked on that these young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect for each other and not throwing that word at each other. It makes my skin crawl."
Lauer asked if Deen would've taken the same course of action after her admission and fired herself from the Food Network. "Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No," she replied.
Deen got very emotional toward the end, invoking Biblical verse John 8:7.
"If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me," she said, tearfully. "Please, I want to meet you.
"I is what I is and I’m not changing."
"There’s someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for, and they wanted it," she added after.
Folowing the interview Deen was dropped by casino company Caesars Entertainment, which plans to close the Paula Deen-branded restaurants in four of their Harrah's casinos, according to TMZ.com.