After canceling her ‘Today Show’ interview last week, Paula Deen made an appearance on Wednesday with Matt Lauer and Deen quickly became emotional.
Deen started the interview with a statement.
“I believe every creature on this earth, every one of God’s creatures, was created equal,” she said. “I believe everyone should be treated equal. That’s the way I was raised. That’s the way I live my life. I am here because I want people to know who I am. I’m so distressed that people I’ve never heard of are all of a sudden experts on who I am. Their words are being given weight.”
Deen became very emotional during the interview, even breaking down into tears describing a conversation she had with her 7-year-old grandson.
“I know as well as I’m sitting here with you, I know how I treat people,” Deen said. “I know my love for people. I have never hurt anybody on purpose and I never would. What you see is what you get.”
Lauer didn’t take it easy on Deen with the questions either.
“Are you a racist?” Lauer asked.
“No, I’m not,” Deen responded. “As a child I was raised in a home (where) my father tolerated bad grades. He would tolerate maybe me breaking a curfew. He told me, ‘Girl, if I ever find out you’re acting in a way where you think you’re better than others, or if you’ve been unkind, your butt is going to be mine.”
Author and celebrity pitchwoman Anne Rice is coming to Deen’s defense and wrote a comment on the chef’s Facebook page.
“What’s happening with Paula Dean? Is it fair? I never heard of her until today, and wow, this looks like a crucifixion,” Rice posted. “I may be wrong but aren’t we becoming something of a lynch mob culture? Is this a good example of that? What are your feelings?”
Deen explained the times where she had to comfort her friends on the negative comments that were being said about her.
“I’m heartbroken,” she said. “I’ve had to hold friends in my arms while they’ve sobbed because they know what’s being said about me is not true. I’m having to comfort them and tell them it’s going to be alright. If God got us to it, he’ll get us through it. If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. I want to meet you.”
On the positive side for Deen, the “We Support Paula Deen” Facebook page now boasts 400,000 fans. There is also a high demand for her cookbooks, according to CNN Money.
Her Food Network ratings are down, though reported the Wall Street Journal.
Deen mentioned a potential lawsuit against her by Lisa Jackson, a former employee who claims she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment and is asking for more than $1 million in the proceedings.