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Paula Deen Cancels ‘Today’ Interview Amid N-Word Backlash

Deen's people cite "exhaustion"

Matt Lauer said Paula Deen abruptly canceled a "Today" show interview Friday in which she would have addressed her admission in a depsition last month that she has used the N word in the past.

Lauer said on the air that the Food Network star had agreed to a discussion with no limits on questions, but that her representatives canceled before the show. "We started to hear from her people that she is exhausted," he said.

Also read: Paula Deen Admits Using N-Word, But Not in a 'Mean' Way

Al Roker added that Deen was a "friend of the show," and that he hoped she would reconsider because she "needs to address this."

Deen, 66, and her brother are being sued by a former employee at their Savannah, Ga., restaurant who claims Deen's brother subjected her to sexist, racist and violent behavior. She accused Deen of using the N word as recently as in 2007, while discussing an idea for a "plantation"-style wedding.

Also read: Paula Deen's N-Word Use Is a Relic of the Past, Rep Says

Deen denied using the word then, but conceded that she has used it in the past: Once to refer to a man who held her at gunpoint, and to recount conversations between African-Americans who used the word.

But she said in the deposition that times have changed and she no longer uses the word. Her representatives said in a statement Thursday that her use of it in the past was the result of growing up in the South 60 years ago.

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