Paula Deen to Face Matt Lauer on Today Show After Food Network Firing
Paula Deen is usually the one doing the cooking when she appears on TV, but on Wednesday, June 26, she'll be in the hot seat as Matt Lauer grills her on the details of her recent racial slur scandal. The beleaguered chef, 66, was supposed to appear on the TODAY show last Friday but bailed at the last minute because she was too "exhausted"; she has since rescheduled the interview.
"She has told us she will be here this time," Lauer announced on Monday, June 24.
The news comes just a few days after Deen's Food Network firing. On Friday, June 21, the Southern chef was dropped by her longtime employers amid controversy over her admission in a deposition last month that she had used racial slurs -- including the N-word. A few hours after her termination, Deen thanked the network for 11 "great years."
"I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories," she said in a statement. "This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of y'all."
That statement followed two video apologies earlier in the day. In the second -- which was posted after the first clip was removed -- Deen said she had canceled her TODAY show appearance because she "was physically not able" to go on camera.
"The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others," she explained. "So I'm taking this opportunity, now that I've pulled myself together and am able to speak, to offer an apology to all those that I have hurt."
"I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press say we are," she continued. "I've spent the best of 24 years to help myself and others. Your color of skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me."
Deen's apology came too late for the Food Network, which pulled her hour-long block of programming from the Saturday, June 22, schedule after her Friday firing. She is also at risk of being dropped by QVC, which markets and sells her cookware products. On Sunday, June 23, a rep for the home shopping corporation told Us Weekly that the company "shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation."
"QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior," the rep said. "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."