Matt Lauer interviewed Paula Deen on the TODAY Show Wednesday.
Paula Deen at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana casino buffet.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Paula Deen
took to the TODAY show Wednesday morning to defend her reputation.
The down-home foodie celebrity has been the target of criticism, since the
release of a lawsuit deposition in which she acknowledged using racial slurs
"One of the headline's I read Paula,
said that there--said millions of dollars at stake for Paula Deen in Today show
interview. So are you here to express what you just said, or are you here to
stop the financial bleeding," questioned Matt Lauer.
"I am here today because I want people
to know who I am," said Deen. "And people who have worked beside me,
have walked beside me know what kind of person I am. And I-I'm so distressed
that people I've never heard of are all of a sudden experts on who I am. And
you know what distresses me the very most, Matt? Their words are being given
Deen emphatically denies that she harbors
racist thoughts. But, is losing key corporate partners in the process. Deen has
been dropped by the Food Network. Smithfield Foods announced on Monday it was
dropping her as a spokeswoman as well. On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
announced that it has ended its relationship with Paula Deen. The world's
largest retailer said it will not place "any new orders beyond what's
already committed." The discounter says it will work with suppliers on
On Wednesday, Caesars Entertainment
Corporation, which operates Horseshoe Southern Indiana, announced it has
reached a mutual agreement with Paula Deen Enterprises not to renew the two
companies' business relationship. Caesars operates Paula Deen-themed
restaurants at four of its properties. Caesars intends to rebrand the
restaurants in the coming months.
"While we appreciate Paula's sincere
apologies for statements she made in her past that she recently disclosed
during a deposition given in response to a lawsuit, after thoughtful
consideration of their impact, we have mutually decided that it is in the best
interests of both parties to part ways at this time," said Jan Jones
Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications and government affairs
for Caesars Entertainment.
"Nobody and I mean nobody in their
right mind wants to be associated with racism," said Mark Gunn. Gunn is a
businessman and 35 year radio and TV veteran. Gunn is launching a campaign in
light of the Deen controversy.
"The campaign is called "My N***A?
NO! initiative," said Gunn. Gunn is challenging African Americans who use
the N-word to stop using it.
"People will argue well we can say this
word but, you can't," said Gunn. "And when they make that argument
it's rather hypocritical. We've spent 400 years living with this word that is
so demeaning and has done so much damage."
Gunn is asking other Black media outlets and
businesses to encourage respect.
"The casual use of the word may not
have had the sting it did back then but, it sure as heck stings a lot more
now," said Gunn.
business empire is worth an estimated $17 million.
Friday, July 25 2014 9:20 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:20:00 GMT
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