Paula Deen pulls out of "Today" appearance

Chef Paula Deen attends TimesTalks: A Conversation With Marcus Samuelsson and Paula Deen at The Times Center on Oct. 13, 2012, in New York.
Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Celebrity chef Paula Deen was a no-show Friday at the "Today" show, where she was scheduled to appear to answer questions about her past use of racial slurs.

"Today" host Matt Lauer told viewers he had spoken with Deen the day before to arrange what NBC had promoted as an exclusive, live appearance.

But shortly before the show went on the air Friday, Lauer said he was told by a Deen representative that she was pulling out. The rep told him Deen was "exhausted."

The 66-year-old Food Network star has come under fire after she admitted to having used racial slurs in the past while being questioned last month in a discrimination lawsuit involving a Savannah restaurant she partly owns.

According to a transcript of the deposition, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, an attorney for Jackson asked Deen if she has ever used the N-word.

"Yes, of course," Deen replied, though she added: "It's been a very long time."

On Wednesday, her rep released a statement saying, "Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court."

A day later, Paula Deen Enterprises issued another statement, which said: "During a deposition where she swore to tell the truth, Ms. Deen recounted having used a racial epithet in the past, speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today."

"She was born 60 years ago, when America's South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today," the statement continued. "To be clear Ms. Deen does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."

The Food Network said Thursday it doesn't tolerate any form of discrimination and is looking into the situation.