Paula Deen appears on the 'Today' show: 7 key quotes (Video)
Paula Deen made her somewhat delayed appearance on the "Today" show on Wednesday, June 26, and co-host Matt Lauer did not pull any punches when questioning the former Food Network chef's use of the N-word.
Deen's interview aired uninterrupted for 13 minutes and she became emotional several times throughout when talking about the backlash and support she has received.
The controversy began after the 66-year-old admitted in a court deposition that she had used the N-word in the past. She was talking on the record in response to a $1.2 million racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against her and her brother by a former employee of their Savannah, Georgia restaurant.
Check out 7 key quotes and video from Deen's "Today" show interview below.
1. "I'm not an actress. I'm heartbroken."
Toward the end of her interview, Lauer asked, "There's not another side of this personality that we see on TV? This warm, sugary, sweet, even sassy girl of the South? There isn't a side of you that is intolerant and perhaps views others as not equal?"
Deen denied it and said, "No, what you see is what you get. I'm not an actress. I'm heartbroken. I'm thankful for my partners."
The chef added that she's had to comfort her friends because they know what is being said about her is not true.
"I'm having to comfort them and tell them it's going to be all right. If God got us to it, he'll get us through it," she added. "I've had wonderful support from Reverend [Jesse] Jackson. I've had wonderful support. "
2. "I is what I is and I'm not changing."
After talking about the support she's received, Deen said, "I'll tell you what, if there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you're out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please I want to meet you," she said. "I is what I is and I'm not changing."
"There's someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for, and they wanted it," she later added.
3. "Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No."
Lauer asked Deen if she was treated fairly by companies that have distanced themselves from her like the Food Network and Smithfield Foods. He told Deen to think from a business perspective and asked, "Given the same circumstances, would you have fired you?"
"Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No," Deen said. "I have been lucky in that aspect Matt. I'm so fortunate that so many of my partners that know who I am have decided to stand by me."
She brought up that QVC has not dropped her but Lauer pointed out that the company said in their official statement on the matter that they were reviewing their relationship with her and had no immediate plans to have her appear on the network.
"Well 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 replied.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced late Wednesday that it has ended its relationship with Deen. It was also announced that Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, will strip Deen's name from four buffet restaurants.
4. "The day I used that word it was a world ago."
Lauer asked Deen outright if she was a racist, which she denied. He brought up that she said under oath that she had used a racial slur in the past. The "Today" co-host then asked her, "How does someone use the N-word, whether in anger or a joke or in private, the most offensive word to African Americans and not be considered racist?"
In her deposition, Deen admitted to using the racial slur in at least one instance when talking to her husband about a bank robber that had put a gun to her head in 1986.
"The day I used that word it was a world ago," Deen said. "It was 30 years ago. I had had a gun put to my head. A shaken gun. Because the man that had the gun to my head, unbeknowing to me, was my customer at the main office."
Deen denied using the word on other occasions. "It's just not a part of who we are," she said.
5. "It's very distressing for me to go into my kitchens and hear what these young people are calling each other."
Lauer brought up a quote from Deen's deposition where she talked about jokes about race and said, "I can't, myself determine what offends another person." He then asked her, "Do you have any doubt in your mind that African Americans are offended by the N-word?"
Deen said, "I don't know Matt. I have asked myself that so many times. It's very distressing for me to go into my kitchens and I hear what these young people are calling each other."
Lauer asked her if she had joined in on that language, to which Deen replied, "No. Absolutely not."
"It's very distressing, it's very distressing for me because I think for this problem to be worked on, that these young people are gonna have to take control and start showing respect for each other and not throwing that word at each other," she added. "It makes my skin crawl."
6. "There's a couple of kinds of people that I don't like, that I am prejudiced against Matt and that's thieves and liars."
Deen was also asked by Lauer if she wished she had lied during her deposition, now knowing the backlash she has received because of it.
"No, because there's a couple of kinds of people that I don't like, that I am prejudiced against Matt and that's thieves and liars," she said.
7. "If you've never committed a sin, please pick up that rock, pick up that boulder and hit me as hard as you can."
When Lauer attempted to end the interview, Deen continued to speak, thanking him for the interview.
"Thank you for having me Matt. It means a lot to me and it feels so strange to come to this wonderful, happy place where I've always come so happy and I have these people believe these horrible, horrible lies when all you have to do is ask the people around me because I live my life the way I believe," she said. "And like I said, if you've never committed a sin, please pick up that rock, pick up that boulder and hit me as hard as you can."
Watch Deen's interview on the "Today" show below.