Food Network chef Paula Deen opted out of a TODAY interview at the last minute on Friday–several days after admitting under oath that she used racial slurs when describing black waitstaff employees.
Matt Lauer told viewers this morning that NBC received a last minute notification from Paula’s rep, indicating that Deen was backing out of the exclusive sit down interview because she was “exhausted.”
The television host posted on Twitter, “Hoping to get more info on the Paula Deen situation soon. Very confusing.”
Her current legal problems stem from a discrimination lawsuit that was leveled against the television chef and her brother Bubba Heirs by Lisa Jackson, a former manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.
In her court filing, Jackson alleges that she was “sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs.”
In a court deposition earlier this week, Deen admitted that she had used the N-word in the past but wouldn’t use it today.
Paula Deen Enterprises issued this statement yesterday: “Paula was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstances by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination.”
Check out a brief clip of Lauer making the last minute announcement: