Paula Deen skips 'Today' interview, promises statement
Deen has been at the center of a controversy in the past week over her admission, while giving a deposition in a lawsuit by a former employee, that she has used a racial slur in the past. The plaintiff in the suit alleges Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, made numerous racially charged comments and that she was sexually harassed when she worked at a restaurant owned by Deen.
Deen's company then released a statement noting she was born in the segregated South in 1953 and said that in the deposition, she recounted using the N-word after being a holdup victim while working in a bank in 1986. "This is not today," the statement reads. "To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."
She had been scheduled to talk about all that on Friday's "Today" show, and flew to New York Thursday to prep for the interview with Matt Lauer. "I spoke to her late afternoon on the phone yesterday and we talked about the fact that it would be an open and candid discussion, no holds barred," Lauer said on the show.
Friday morning, though, Lauer says Deen's publicist called the show and informed her Deen was "exhausted" and wouldn't be showing up.
Later on Twitter, however, Deen said she would be releasing a video statement, then offered up a picture of herself preparing for that statement. We'll update this post with her statement when it arrives.