"Everyone should be treated equal, that's the way I was raised and that's the way I like my life," said Deen.
Paula Deen visited the Today show Wednesday for an emotional interview, her first since admitting to using racial slurs.
"There's been some hurtful lies told about me," the cooking star said. "I believe that every one of God's creatures is created equal… Everyone should be treated equal, that's the way I was raised and that's the way I live my life." She later said, "If there is anyone out there that has never said something that 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, whose Food Network contract was terminated on Friday, told Lauer that she didn't think her actions were worthy of a firing. "Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No," Deen said. "I am so very thankful for the partners I have who believe in me."
The Food Network isn't the only company cutting ties with Deen. Smithfield Foods also dropped their partnership with her, while QVC, Sears and Target are in talks of potentially ditching Deen.
Early last week the Georgia native caught flack after admitting to using the N-word in a legal deposition and wanting to host a "plantation-style" wedding. Days later, Deen posted a series of YouTube videos apologizing for what she said.
Despite the blow she received, Deen told Lauer that she's not completely sure whether she's aware that the N-word is offensive. "I don't know, I have asked myself that so many times," Deen said."I go into my kitchens and hear what these young people are calling each other… it's very distressing for me. I think for this problem to be worked on these young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect for each other."