Paula Deen, the Food Network star under fire over a racially charged deposition, says she is no racist.
Deen, who has been dropped by the Food Network and as spokeswoman for Smithfield Foods, gave a teary interview to the Today show this morning.
"I believe that every creature on this earth, every one of God's creatures, was created equal," Deen said.
Deen added that her family had raised her to never think she was better than anyone.
Matt Lauer seized on one statement Deen made during her deposition. Deen was talking about the N-word being thrown around in one of her kitchens jokingly.
The lawyer asks if she considered them to be using the N-word in a mean way.
"I don't know, I didn't make up the jokes, I don't know," she said during the deposition. "I can't, I don't know. They usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don't know — I just don't know what to say. I can't, myself, determine what offends another person."
Lauer asked her if it wasn't clear to her that the N-word was offensive to African-Americans.
Deen said it was "distressing" to hear young, black people in her kitchens refer to each other by the word.
"For this problem to be worked out," she said, "these young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect for each other."
At one point in the interview, Deen looked right at the camera and said, crying: "If there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back. If you're out there, then pick up that stone and throw it so hard in my head that it kills me."