Paula Deen Abruptly Cancels Today Interview With Matt Lauer

The celebrity chef is facing a public-relations crisis following allegations of racism. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Embattled television chef Paula Deen was scheduled to make her first public appearance this morning on Today when her public-relations team sent word to NBC that she was pulling out for vague reasons. (Deen often turns to Today when she's in the midst of a scandal.) A publicist cited general "exhaustion," and during a segment in which Matt Lauer addressed the cancellation on air, Al Roker implored Deen to change her mind, saying, "we consider her a friend, and we would hope that she'll reconsider, but she really needs to address this."

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The celebrity chef made headlines earlier this week when it was reported she had used racial slurs and had allegedly told racist and offensive jokes. The revelations were part of a videotaped deposition Deen gave last month as part of a lawsuit she and her brother are facing in Georgia, in which a former manager at the family-owned Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House contends she and other staff members were subjected to racism and abuse.

Update: The day got a whole lot worse for Deen.

Paula Deen Drops Today Show Appearance [TPM]
Earlier: Paula Deen Reportedly Planned a Wedding With Waiters Who Looked Like ‘Slaves’ [Updated]