Paula Deen to visit 'Today' show Wednesday
Embattled restaurateur and former Food Network star Paula Deen will visit the "Today" show Wednesday, after having canceled a Friday appearance amid controversy over her past use of racial epithets.
"She has told us she will be here this time," "Today" co-host Matt Lauer said Monday on the NBC morning show.
"See you Wednesday," Deen, 66, tweeted afterward. "I am so glad Matt, Al [Roker] and my friends at @TodayShow are bringing me back."
Deen abruptly canceled on Friday as criticism mounted over a deposition she gave May 17 in a lawsuit by her former Savannah, Ga., restaurant manager Lisa Jackson, which alleged a sexually and racially hostile work environment. In it, Deen said she had toyed with the idea of a "plantation" theme for a 2007 wedding. In later testimony, she conceded to having told racist and anti-Semitic jokes.
On Friday, the Food Network dropped Deen, a more than decadelong star of shows such as "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Paula's Best Dishes." Deen issued videotaped apologies the same day.
Adding to her troubles Monday, the pork-processing giant Smithfield Foods announced it is ending Deen's endorsement contract after seven years.
"Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind," Keira Lombardo, vice president of the Smithfield, Va.-based company, said in a statement. "Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen. Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned."
Deen had used Smithfield products in her recipes, and the company had a Deen-branded line of ham.
Deen has not responded to this latest development.