Paula Deen broke down in tears during her interview with Matt Lauer”Today Show” interview over her admission that she has used the “N-word” in the past.
“There have been some very, very hurtful lies said about me,” she said Wednesday in her first public appearance since being dropped from the Food Network and by endorser Smithfield Foods.
Deen says that the media has made her out to be someone she is not and she would never intentionally hurt someone.
“I believe that every creature on this earth, every one of God’s creatures was created equal,” she said. “I believe that everyone should be treated equal. That’s the way I was raised, and that’s the way I live my life.”
Deen is currently involved in a legal battle with a former manager of her Savannah, Georgia restaurant. Lisa T. Jackson said that Deen was violent, discriminatory, and racist during her five years at Lady & Sons. Deen is also being accused of using the “N-word.”
During the interview, Deen said she remembered using the slur most recently while retelling a story about being held at gunpoint in the 1980’s, but that she may have used it other times when repeating conversations between her kitchen staff.
Deen defended herself saying that she has not used the word in a “very long time,” and that it bothers her to walk into the kitchens of her restaurants and hear her staff “throwing that word at each other.”
“Because I think 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,” she said.
Deen apologized to fans and thanked those who were standing behind her. She said that the people closest to her knew that the allegations against here are false and that “I was overwhelmed, I was in a state of shock.”
Deen said that she is proud she told the truth in depositions, no matter the outcome, because there are only two types of people that she is prejudiced against, “thieves and liars.”