Paula Deen On "Today": I'm Not A Racist

Paula Deen gave an emotional interview Wednesday morning on NBC

Screen shot of Deen on NBC's "Today Show" June 26. (Credit: CBS/NBC)

To join the conversation on this story and others, "like" our KKTV 11 News Facebook page!

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.

This was unlike any other visit to "Today" for Deen, who has stopped by the morning show plenty times before to serve up a smile and her classic home-cooked meals. "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.

Later, Deen spoke about hearing what young people say to one another, noting it makes her "skin crawl": "It's very distressing for me to go in my kitchens and I hear what these young people are calling each other...It's very distressing for me."

It was only when Lauer asked Deen if she wished she had "fudged the truth" under oath in the discrimination case that she got really emotional. "No, because there are a couple kinds of people that I'm prejudiced against -- and that is thieves and liars," said Deen, who went on to tell a story about her grandchild and the importance of telling the truth.

"That's how I raised my children. That's how I was raised..and that's how my grandchildren are raised," said Deen.

During the rest of the interview, Deen fought back tears.

"I have apologized, and I have never, ever...with any intention hurt anybody on purpose," Deen said, adding that she can't change who she is: "What you see is what you get...I'm heartbroken...I've had to hold friends in my arms who have sobbed because they know what's been said about me...I've had wonderful support from Reverend Jackson.

And even as Lauer tried to wrap up the segment, Deen continued to talk through tears, asking if there's anyone who has never said something they regret.

KKTV firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKTV 11 News.

If you believe that any of the comments on our site are inappropriate or offensive, please tell us by clicking “Report Abuse” and answering the questions that follow. We will review any reported comments promptly.

powered by Disqus
KKTV 520 E. Colorado Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Office: (719) 634-2844 Fax: (719) 632-0808 News Fax: (719) 634-3741
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 213128291 -
Gray Television, Inc.