Embattled Paula Deen finally makes delayed “Today” appearance, but no direct apology

Embattled lifestyle guru Paula Deen makes “Today” show appearance

Lifestyle guru Paula Deen has been on more of a defensive than an apology tour this week. Her most recent stop was on NBC’s “Today” show. During the interview, Deen spoke a great deal about how the scandal has affected her personally, but didn’t utter a direct apology.

“I have been overwhelmed and in a state of shock,” said Deen. “There have been some very hurtful lies said about me.”

Lauer came out of the chute by grilling Deen on how the loss of sponsors and endorsement deals have affect her, and her business empire.

“Let me say this Matt,” Deen said, “what I am here today to talk about is 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.”

Lauer pushed the financial issue by quoting a headline that touted there were millions of dollars at stake tied to the “Today” show interview.

“Are you here to stop the financial bleeding,” Lauer asked.

“I am here today because I want people to really know who I am,” replied Deen once again deflecting the question.

The scandal stems from testimony offered in a deposition by Deen about her use of the derogatory “n” word with employees at her restaurants. Deen’s use of the word was also brought up in relation to a plantation themed wedding her restaurant catered for a private client.

“I am so grateful for the (business) partners that have stood by me,” was Deen’s only response to the number of sponsors who have dropped her brand or were considering doing so.

Lauer followed up by asking the burning hot-button question…is Paula Deen a racist?

“No, I am not a racist,” replied Deen. “I was raised in a house hold with a father who would tolerate bad grades or a broken curfew, but told me ‘girl if I ever find out that you have behaved in a way like you are better than anyone else your butt is mine.”

Lauer later asked Deen about her alleged use of the “n” word in the past. He cited that Deen admitted to using the word in her sworn deposition, and included an excerpt from her testimony regarding whether using the “n” word when telling a joke was acceptable.

Deen’s response was as follows:

“I don’t know. Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks…I didn’t make up the jokes. They usually target, though, a group…I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”

“Do you have any doubt that African Americans are offended by the ‘n’ word,” asked Lauer.

“I don’t know Matt,” responded Deen. “I have asked myself that so many times because it’s so distressing to go into my kitchens and I hear what these young people are calling each other. It’s very, very distressing.”

“You never joined in on that language,” asked Lauer.

“No,” said Deen emphatically, “absolutely not!”

Later, Lauer asked Deen if upon reflection she wished that she had fudged the truth a bit.

“No,” she replied. “I am only prejudiced against two types of people; thieves and liars.”

Deen became quite emotional at the end of the interview, and while never offering an actual apology, alluded to the fact that she has apologized on previous occasions, and spoke about how the hurtful words and speculation had been damaging to not just Deen and her business but to family and friends as well.

“The people that know me, they are angry,” she said.

At the end of the interview, Deen evoked the words in the Bible regarding sin, and chalked up much of what has happened to a case of professional jealousy.

“If there is a person out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re 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. And, there’s someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for and they wanted it.”

What do you think of Paula’s interview on the “Today” show? Weigh in with comments.

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While Brad Pitt’s mom has created a firestorm, in-law to be Jon Voight has her back

Jon Voight and Jane Pitt: joined at the hip?

The recent flack aimed at the mother of Brad Pitt has garnered support from his future father-in-law. According to The Huffington PostPublicity hungry Oscar winner Jon Voight has come forward in support of the letter Jane Pitt sent to the editorial staff of the Springfield News in Missouri. In the letter, Mrs. Pitt denounced President Barack Obama, and made her disdain for gay rights and abortion rights very clear.

“Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama — a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”

In an attempt to remain relevant, the father of Brad Pitt’s intended, Angelina Jolie, offered his support of Mrs. Pitt’s opinions by offering the comment “Good for her” to the FOX News online column PopTarts. However, Voight’s opinions have been countered by death threats again Mrs. Pitt from a growing number of individuals. Comments from some of the users of social media site Twitter posted messages such as “Brad Pitt’s mom die,” “Brad Pitt’s mom wrote an anti-gay pro-Romney editorial. Kill the B—-,” “F— you, brad pitt’s mom, the gay community made your kid a star, you whacko.”

Pitt and Jolie have not offered a response to Mrs’ Pitt’s letter publicly. Pitt’s brother Doug did break his silence and offered support for his mother, and acknowledges that discord in families is not uncommon; even with celebrities.

“Moms and dads and kids agree to disagree all over the world, so why would our family be any different?” Doug  told “Today” host Matt Lauer during his recent appearance on NBC’s morning program “Today.” “There can be healthy discussion when people disagree with you, and I think there should be. The bad thing is when it turns into venom and negativity and we don’t have that in our family.”

What are your thoughts on Mrs. Pitt’s letter? Weigh in in our comments section.

Ann Curry OUT at “Today”

Thanks for warming up the chair for me Ann…now GET OUT!!

As we mentioned earlier in this week, Ann Curry, the popular put-upon of NBC’s “Today” show is out as co-anchor. In a short statement at the end of her portion of the neverending 4-hour gabfest Curry, with her regular grace and dignity, announced her departure.

“For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line but, man, I did try,” she said, breaking down.

Ratings dips, and a thrashing by ABC’s “Good Morning America” were placed squarely at the feet of Curry. Add to that a clear lack of “chemistry” between Curry and her co-anchor, Matt Lauer. Lauer has alledgedly been lobbying behind the scenes for Curry’s ouster.

Curry has said that she will remain with the “Today” show family, with a “fancy new title.” As was speculated, Savannah Guthrie is expected to take over the anchor chair next to Svengali  Lauer.

Will NBC’s Curry last long enough to file workers compensation claim?

NBC “Today” Show anchor Ann Curry

As if the indignity of possibly being fired, NBC “Today” show anchor Ann Curry was struck in the face by a camera during the broadcast Tuesday morning. Adding insult to injury, Curry’s co-anchor, Matt Lauer, made light of the accident by referring to her as a character from the 70’s film classic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Old Flat-Nosed Curry.” Professionalism at its best.

Curry’s future on the morning news juggernaut has been cause for much speculation since she took the reins last June. Since the departure of her predecessor, Meredith Vieira, the typical ratings leader was de-throned  from the top spot by ABC’s “Good Morning America” for the first time in 16 years. That coupled with compatriot Matt Lauer thinly veiled displeasure with his co-anchors performance, and the writing appears to be on the wall. The question at hand; who would the NBC brass call from the bench to replace Curry, who has served valiantly for numerous years at the peacock network. Would it be current news correspondent and fan favorite Natalie Morales, or will Lauer flex his highly paid muscle at get Savannah Guthrie to occupy the chair next to his? Whomever the network powers choose Curry’s successor to be, there is a possibility it could come even before the London Olympic games, helmed by the networks of NBC next month.

What do you think of the handling of Curry at NBC? Share your thoughts in our comments.

Matt Lauer on board for Today show

“Where in the World” fans fear not; Matt Lauer has signed a new deal to remain as the host of the Today show. Sources close to the negotiations say that the anchor will earn between $25 – $30 million in the new deal; a more substantial payday than his current salary of a measly $17 million.

As for his co-host Ann Curry, it appears Lauer’s new dal spells the end of day for Curry. According to the same sources, Lauer is flexing his muscle to muscle Curry out, and replace her with Today show correspondent and fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie.

What do you think of Lauer’s new deal? How about Ann Curry being on the chopping block? Comments are welcome…