This time around, the embattled queen of Southern cuisine is determined to make her interview.
Paula Deen, whose Friday started with her skipping a live, scheduled interview with NBC's "Today" show which later that afternoon resulted in the release of a series of poorly-edited video statements begging for forgiveness, ended her week by promptly being canned by the Food Network. Like the rest of us, she starts with a clean slate this week. Although it's already been roughed up as of Monday afternoon.
Smithfield Foods, another component of Deen's business empire, announced Monday that it is dropping her as its spokeswoman. The company shared in a statement with The Associated Press that it "condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen."
On Monday morning, the culinary star shared via Twitter, "See you Wednesday, I am so glad Matt, Al and my friends at @TodayShow are bringing me back." Show co-host Matt Lauer said Deen "told us she will be here this time."
A visibly disappointed Lauer shared at the onset of Friday's morning television program that Deen was skipping out on her heavily-touted, live, "no-holds barred" conversation with the "Today" show. "Paula Deen was scheduled to do an interview with us this morning, live in our studio," said Lauer. "But we just found out, she’s a no show."
Along with Deen's general apology for her "inappropriate, hurtful language," she also released two other videos - one where she directly apologized to Lauer for being "physically unable" to attend her scheduled appearance on the show.
The interview was intended as an exclusive tell-all with the 66-year-old chef, who is currently shrouded in controversy after a leaked deposition conducted in May and filed last week revealed her admission of using racial slurs. In March 2012, a former employee filed a discrimination suit against the comforting Food Network figure and Deen's brother, alleging that she had been subject to work in a "hostile" environment among other complaints. The attorney who conducted the deposition asked Deen if she had ever used the N-word. "Yes of course," she responded. "It's been a very long time," she continued.
The cook disclosed that despite her use of the slur, neither she nor her brother promote hate under any circumstances. “Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is” or what gender a person is, she disclosed. “It’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us.”
“I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person,” she continued.
Despite her series of apologies, the beleaguered culinary star was informed Friday afternoon that the Food Network would not be renewing her contract, which expires at the end of June.
The culinary star currently has a contract with West Chester-based QVC as well. The home shopping network and publishing company Simon & Schuster have told other media outlets that they are "monitoring the situation." A QVC rep released the following statement to Philly.com Monday morning:
“QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation. QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior. We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC."
She will, however, appear on the "Today" show Wednesday, and we will most definitely be watching.