Paula Deen on Today: I Would Not Have Fired Me

Appearing on NBC’s Today this morning after backing out of her originally scheduled Friday drop-by, Paula Deen said that if she had stood in Food Network’s chef clogs, she would not have fired her amid recent accusations of being racist.

“Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No,” she told Matt Lauer, when asked how she would have handled the situation.

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Deen said she has been the target of “very, very hurtful lies,” and later maintained, “No, no I am not” racist.

“[I believe] every one of God’s creatures was created equal,” she attested. “That’s the way I was raised, that’s the way I’ve led my life.”

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During the 13-minute Today talk, Deen contradicted the courtroom testimony she gave some 30 years ago and which surfaced this week, insisting that during a 1986 bank robbery — and only then — did she use the N-word, in addressing the African-American robber who held a gun to her head.

When Lauer inquired if there was perhaps a not-so-sweet side to her personality that she has never let her public see, one that would let slip with such racial epithets, she rebuffed the notion, saying, “I’m not an actress.”

Surveying the attacks on her over the past week, Deen suggested, through tears, “There’s someone evil out there that saw what I worked for — and they wanted it.”

Are you buying what Deen is now selling? Did her Today appearance improve her sullied image?