Paula Deen: I would not have fired me, who can cast the first stone?

paula-deen-today-crying.jpgCelebrity chef Paula Deen appeared on "Today" Wednesday (June 26) to set the record straight about her now-famous deposition where she admits to using the N-word, which led to the Food Network not renewing its contract with Deen and then her ham line being discontinued.

One thing that interviewer Matt Lauer tries to talk to her about is whether she used the N-word after the bank robbery where she had a gun held to her head by the African-American man robbing the bank.

Deen insists that is the only time -- "The day I used that word, it was a world ago, it was 30 years ago. ... I have never [used it since]," says Deen.

Except in her deposition, when asked if she has used the N-word since the bank robbery, she said, "I'm sure I have, but it's been a very long time," adding that she can't remember when she's used it, but probably in repeating something that was said to her or repeating " a conversation between blacks."

Lauer does not press the subject.

Deen goes on to say she's overwhelmed and that there have been "some very, very hurtful lies said" about her.

"It's important to me that I tell you and everyone out there what I believe and how I live my life. I believe that every creature on this earth, every one of God's creatures was created equal, 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 raised and that's the way I live my life," says Deen.

"I am here today because I want people to know who I am. People that have worked beside me, have walked beside me, know what kind of person I am. I'm so distressed that people I've never heard of are all of a sudden experts on who I am."

"Would I have fired me, knowing me? No. ... I'm so fortunate that so many of my partners that know who I am have decided to stand by me. QVC has not dropped me. ... I am so very thankful for the partners I have that believe in me."

Deen then turns to talk about how the use of the N-word by black people is something she thinks needs to change.

"It's very distressing for me to go into my kitchens and I hear what these young people are calling each other. It's very, very distressing ... because I think that for this problem to be worked on that these young people are gonna have to take control and start showing respect for each other and not throwing that word at each other. It makes my skin crawl," says Deen.

Deen finishes by saying that she's heartbroken for her friends who are so upset by this whole thing and that she challenges anyone who has never said anything they wish they could take back to throw the first stone.

"What you see is what you get [with me]. I'm not an actress, I'm heartbroken. I'm thankful for my partners. ... I've had to hold friends in my arms while they've sobbed because they know what's being said about me is not true. I'm having to comfort them and tell them it's gonna be alright. If God got us to it, he'll get us through it.

"If there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you are out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please, I want to meet you. I is what I is and I'm not changing.

"There's someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for and wanted it."
Photo/Video credit: Today