News Column

Paula Deen Says She's Never Changing

Jun 26 2013 11:28AM

A tearful Paula Deen has a suggestion for anyone who has never said anything they wish they could take back:

"Please pick up that stone and throw it so hard in my head that it kills me," the red-eyed celebrity said. "Please, I want to meet you. I is what I is and I am not changing."

Deen's comments on NBC's Today show this morning follow a scandal triggered by her admission of using the N-word in a recent court disposition.

Deen said she has only used the N-word once in her 66 years.

"It was a world ago. It was 30 years ago," Deen told NBC's "Today" show host Matt Lauer.

Deen said she used the word against a man who robbed her in a bank.

Lauder persistently questioned Deen about things she said in the court document including her response when asked if she thought using the N-word in a joke was hurtful.

Deen reportedly said: "most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target -- I don't know. I didn't make up the jokes. I don't know... I can't, myself, determine what offends another person."

Lauer on "Today" asked Deen if she has any doubt in her mind that African-Americans are offended by the "N-word."

Deen told Lauer that it distresses her when she walks into her kitchens and hears young people -- presumably young black people -- use the N-word.

"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," she said. "It makes my skin crawl."

The now former Food Network host and her brother Earl "Bubba" Hiers are being sued by Lisa Jackson, a former manager of their restaurant, Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House.

Jackson alleges sexual harassment and a hostile work environment filled with racial slurs. She wants $1.2 million.

According to the deposition, in one incident Deen wanted her brother's 2007 wedding to be plantation style, allegedly saying:

"Well, what I would really like is a bunch of little n---s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around." Paula Deen laughed and said "Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn't it? But we can't do that because the media would be on me about that."

Deen had a much different version of those comments.

She basically told Lauer that she been a friend to the black race and has helped many, but would leave the details for others to say.

Deen detractors and supporters have come out in full force.

The First Lady of Finger Lickin' Food said she has had to comfort friends who have come to her defense.

She told Lauer said she did not want a backlash against the Food Network for its decision not to renew her contract.

"I live my life the way I believe," Deen said before Lauer ended the interview.

What do you think? Deen has apologized. She seems sincere. Should she be forgiven?

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