American celebrity cook Paula Deen has given a tearful interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show after being dropped from endorsement deals with the Food Network and Smithfield Foods.
She has apologised on several occasions after admitting in a lawsuit deposition that she had used the N-word.
Deen backed out of an interview with Lauer on Friday, citing shock and exhaustion, but she took part in a 15-minute chat this morning to put across her side of the story.
Lauer asked whether she felt she had been treated fairly by her business partners, but the self-professed queen of Southern cooking instead tried to focus on her beliefs.
“I believe that every creature on this earth – every one of God’s creatures – was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with, no matter what church you go to pray,” she said. “I believe everyone should be treated equal, and that’s the way I was raised and that’s the way I live my life.”
But the host pressed her on the business issue, asking if she were in the companies’ position, would she have fired herself?
“Would I have fired me? Knowing me, no,” she said.
According to Forbes, Deen earned $17 million in 2012 from a combination of endorsement deals. She insisted that she and QVC had not yet parted ways. “There’s only two that has dropped me and I am so very thankful for the partners that I have that believe in me,” she said.
As the interview continued, Deen became increasingly emotional. She insisted she only used the word once “30 years ago” when she “had a gun put to my head” and said: “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me.”