Food Network cuts ties with Paula Deen amidst her ongoing legal woe in which she's sued by a former employee for racial discrimination. The TV channel has decided not to renew her contract, which expires at the end of this month.
Deen has been on Food Network since 1999. Her show "Paula's Party" debuted on the channel in 2006 and "Paula's Best Dishes" premiered in 2008.
In a statement, the 66-year-old cook thanks the network for 11 "great years." She says, "I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories. This would not have been possible without The Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of ya'll."
On the same day Food Network drops her, Deen leaves Matt Lauer upset after she canceled a scheduled interview on "Today" Friday morning, June 21. A cleary irritated Lauer addressed it on the show, telling co-host Savannah Guthrie that Deen was earlier up for a "candid discussion" about the N-word controversy and "she got on a plane, arrived in New York City last night and then we started to hear from her people that she is 'exhausted.' "
He added, "She has not called us at all this morning. 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 that she is not here right now."
Deen later makes a public apology through a YouTube video. "I was invited this morning to speak with Matt Lauer about a subject that has been very hurtful for a lot of people and Matt, I have to say I have been physically not able to this morning. The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others," she states.
"So I'm taking this opportunity, now that I have pulled myself together and am able to speak, to offer an apology to those that I have hurt. I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. The color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter, but it's what's in the heart ... and my family and I try to live by that," she continues, "I hope that you forgive me because this comes from the deepest part of my heart."
Deen recently admitted in a court deposition that she once used N-word but insisted it was a word she and her family no longer use. She later blamed her Southern upbringing for the use of racial slur. Her PR team said in her defense, "She was born 60 years ago when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today."
Matt Lauer addresses Paula Deen's no-show on "Today":