It’s been a year and some change since celebrity chef Paula Deen delivered a weepy pseudo-apology to Matt Lauer on “Today,” following fallout after she revealed during a deposition that she had used the “n-word.”
She brought along sons Bobby and Jamie and kept the tears in check during a contrite visit with Lauer to discuss what she learned from the controversy and what she has planned for the future.
“To say the (controversy) rocked your world is an understatement,” Lauer said, a nod to Deen being dropped by the Food Network and several sponsors.
Deen said it “took (her) awhile” to recover from the shell shock. “I had to go home and sit on my sofa. I had to get off the merry-go-round and see things from all angles.”
She said she was disappointed that the dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit filed against her didn’t receive as much attention as when the suit was filed to begin with, and said she’s “trying to be more guarded” in the wake of the events of the past year, but that she doesn’t “ever want to get to the point where (she’s) cynical.”
The only actual news that came out of the interview is that Deen is filming a documentary about her life, and that she and her sons have struck a deal with the Food Network to buy all the material she filmed during her time there, in part to use for her own new online network.
She said she learned “so much” from “sitting quietly with (her) own thoughts.”
“I don’t care how old they are – words are so powerful,” she said. “They can hurt, they can make people happy. Well, my words hurt people. I’m so sorry for the hurt that I caused people. It went deep. I’m here to make people happy, not to bring sadness.”
The Savannah resident, who brought her live cooking show to Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta in August, was set to be interviewed by the AJC to preview the show, but she backed out when the paper wouldn’t agree to submitting questions in advance and doing the interview via e-mail.