Paula Deen on Today: I Is What I Is and I'm Not Changing!

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After bailing on the Today Show last Friday, Paula Deen appeared this morning in an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer, and emotions ran high.

Defiantly, and tearfully, she said she doesn't need to change when it comes to using offensive words - even if they got Deen fired by Food Network.

Paula told Lauer, who didn't throw her any softballs:

"If there's anyone out there that has never said something they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me."

"I is what I is and I'm not changing."

Deen, who was axed after admitting she used racial slurs in a lawsuit deposition, repeatedly defended herself from allegations that she's a racist.

"I believe that every creature on this earth, every one of God's creatures, was created equal," she said, decrying "some very hurtful lies said about me."

"The day I used that word was a world ago. I had a gun put to my head."

Lauer asked Deen if "given the same circumstances, would you have fired you?" The 66-year-old paused and then responded simply, "No."

"I go into my kitchens and hear what these young people are calling each other. It's very distressing for me," the embattled celebrity chef said.

"I think for this problem to be worked on these young people are gonna have to start taking control and start showing respect for each other."

"I know my love for people, and im not going to sit here and tell everything I've done for people of color. I would never hurt anyone on purpose."

She told Lauer, "I'm heartbroken. I've had to hold friends in my arms while they've sobbed because they know what has been said about me. It's not true."

While clearly distressed and all over the place at time, Deen definitely came off looking more sincere than in last week's awkward video apology statement.

What do you think? Did she deserve to get fired? And was she just doing damage control today or genuinely sorry for all that's gone down in her life?

Share your comments with us below, and vote ...

Would you fire Paula Deen?

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