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Paula Deen cancels TV interview amid controversy over N-word use

UPI News Service, 06/21/2013 

Paula Deen canceled a live interview on the "Today" show in New York Friday, amid controversy regarding her use of the N-word.

The Georgia-born celebrity chef, 66, recently admitted during a deposition for a lawsuit that she has, in the past, used racial slurs.

She is being sued for $1.2 million by a former employee who alleges Deen created a hostile work environment at one of her restaurants by expressing racist views.

Word of Deen's admission sparked a media firestorm and she issued a statement this week saying she doesn't condone racism.

She was scheduled to clarify her position further on Friday's edition of "Today," but backed out of appearing on the morning program at the last minute, the show's anchor Matt Lauer said on the air.

"We had planned to have an exclusive live interview with Paula Deen this morning," Lauer said.

"We spoke several times with her people yesterday and then I spoke with Paula yesterday afternoon. We arranged an interview this morning. We agreed there would be no restrictions to that interview only that it would be an open and candid exchange," Lauer said.

"We started to hear from her people that she is exhausted. She has not called us at all. Her publicity person and I spoke a little while ago. Simply said they believe she is in the hotel but she has not confirmed anything other than she is not here."

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