• UPDATE: NBC has announced that Matt Lauer’s interview with Paula Deen will air in the 7:30am ET half-hour of Today and will also be available on TODAY.com afterward.
After backing out of a chat with Today‘s Matt Lauer on Friday, embattled former Food Network host Paula Deen has agreed to appear on Wednesday’s show, Lauer announced Monday morning.
The interview will be the latest in Deen’s efforts at damage control after admitting that she used racial slurs while being deposed for a harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee. In the scandal’s fallout, the 66-year-old Deen was fired by Food Network and is poised to lose her partnership with home shopping network QVC, which peddles her cookware.
A QVC representative told People and TMZ that the network “does not tolerate discriminatory behavior” and that it would be monitoring the lawsuit and the ensuing events closely. In the meantime, QVC has no plans to air programming featuring Deen and her product line. While Food Network announced it would not renew Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of the month and appears to have scrubbed all programming in which she appears from its current schedule, Deen’s product lines were still available on the Food Network website as of Monday morning.
Shortly after the firing was announced, People obtained a statement from Deen in which she expressed her gratitude to the network for their longtime association.
“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,” the statement said. “This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of y’all.”
Deen’s son Jamie, whose own Food Network series Home for Dinner With Jamie Deen is thus far unaffected by the scandal, thanked the family’s supporters via Twitter on Friday, saying “A heartfelt thank y’all to those who have sent love and support for mom and our family.
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