Embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen has re-scheduled her appearance on “The Today Show” and promises to show up this time. She’s now slated to appear on Wednesday’s episode to face Matt Lauer.
“She has told us she will be here this time,” Lauer said on-air Monday.
Deen bailed on the morning show at the last minute on Friday (her handlers initially cited “exhaustion” as the reason), leaving Lauer high and dry in the wake of the N-word controversy that has the chef in some seriously hot water.
Late Friday, the Food Network opted not to renew Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of the month, effectively firing her, after nearly a decade of airing Deen’s cooking programs.
On Friday, after skipping “Today” but before the cable channel cut ties with her, Deen had posted two rather bizarre and rambling video apologies on YouTube, apologizing for using racial slurs in the past and asking for forgiveness.
Deen addressed getting the axe from the Food Network over the weekend in a statement: “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.”
The fallout continues for the TV chef: Deen was dropped Monday by Smithfield Foods as the company’s spokesperson.
The company said in a statement that it “condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen,” according to the AP.
Other major companies are also considering cutting ties with Deen. QVC, Sears and Wal-Mart are all reportedly re-evaluating their business deals with Paula Deen Enterprises, selling Deen’s cookbooks and line of cookware.
“QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation,” QVC said in a statement. “We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”
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