Paula Deen Tearfully Addresses Racism Accusations on 'Today'

The celebrity chef says the N-word makes her 'skin crawl.'

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Paula Deen took to the "Today" show Wednesday morning to defend herself against accusations of racist behaviors.

"I believe that every creature on this earth, every one of God's creatures, was created equal," Deen told "Today" host Matt Lauer. "No matter who you choose to go to bed at night with, no matter what church you go to pray, I believe that everyone should be treated equal, and that's the way I was raised, and that's the way I live my life."

[READ: Paula Deen's Sons Defend Mom Against Racism Allegations]

Last week, Deen came under fire when a deposition for workplace discrimination lawsuit was posted online, showing the celebrity chef having to admit that she made racially insensitive comments. She has since apologized for the remarks and insists they don't reflect her views.

 

"If there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wished 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," she said tearfully Wednesday. "I is what I is, and I'm not changing, and there's someone evil out there that saw what I worked for and they wanted it."

Among the confessions in the deposition is that Deen had used the N-word. She addressed the claim on "Today," telling Lauer that she had only used it when she was a victim in a robbery attempt. She waffled when he asked her if she had used in other instances, something she had admitted to in the deposition. "It's just not a part of who we are," she told him.

When Lauer asked her if she realized that the word was offensive to African-Americans, she responded, "I don't know Matt. I have asked myself that so many times, because it's very distressing for me to go into my kitchen and I hear what these young people are calling each other."

She denied using the word herself in conversation with them, but added, "I think that for this problem to be worked on, that these young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect for each other and not throwing that word at each other. It makes my skin crawl."

[ALSO: Paula Deen's N-Word Accusations and Other Celebrity Chef Scandals]

The controversy has cost Deen her show on the Food Network and her endorsement deal with Smithfield Foods, and the fate of her many other partnerships remains in question.

"I'm so fortunate so many of my partners that know who I am have decided to stand by me," she said.

"There's only two that have dropped me and I am so very thankful for the partners that I have that I believe in me."

Soon after the interview, casino company Caesars announced it would be dropping its restaurant partnership with Deen.

Deen was originally scheduled to appear on "Today" Friday to address the allegations, but reportedly bailed just before airtime. "I was just overwhelmed. I was in a state of shock," she explained to Lauer Wednesday.

She is a frequent guest on the show, usually appearing in cheery cooking segments. "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," she said to close out the interview.

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