*After ditching the “Today” show last Friday, Paula Deen appeared in the studio this morning (June 26) in an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer.
While Deen began the interview composed, she later broke down in tears. Lauer didn’t throw any softballs though — he continued pushing even after Deen was struggling.
Deen defended herself.
“I believe that every creature on this earth — every one of God’s creatures — was created equal,” she said. She also insisted she’s not racist and that there have been “some very hurtful lies said about me.”
Lauer asked Deen if “given the same circumstances, would you have fired you?” She paused and then responded “No.” He also asked her if she was a racist, which she also said no. “The day I used that word was a world ago — I had a gun put to my head.”
When asked whether people find the n-word racist, Deen said, “I don’t know, I have asked myself that so many times. I go into my kitchens and hear what these young people are calling each other. It’s very distressing for me. I think for this problem to be worked on these young people are gonna have to take control and start showing respect for each other.”
Deen appeared extremely distressed at times, but was also adamant about her personal views and ethics. “I know my love for people, and im not going to sit here and tell everything I’ve done for people of color,” she states. “I would never hurt anyone on purpose.”
She told Lauer, “I’m heartbroken. I’ve had to hold friends in my arms while they’ve sobbed because they know what has been said about me. It’s not true.”
The interview ended with Deen saying, “I is what I is and I’m not changing.” She references the “evil out there” and “horrible lies.”
“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,” she said. “Please. I want to meet you. ”
Watch the full segment below.