Paula Deen cries, slams ‘hurtful lies’ on ‘Today’

The beleaguered celebrity chef painted herself as a person who made a simple mistake, the same as anybody else. UPDATE: Walmart, Caesars dump her later in the day.

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With tears in her eyes, celebrity chef Paula Deen defended herself against what she calls “hurtful lies” from “people I’ve never heard of” in an interview Wednesday morning with Matt Lauer on “Today.” “If there’s anyone out there that has not said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard that it kills me,” she said, facing directly into the camera. “I want to meet you.” As Deen called out her detractors, Lauer focused his questions on business. Last week, Food Network opted not to renew her contract, and Smithfield Foods announced Monday it had dropped Deen as a spokeswoman. Deen told Lauer she was lucky that all but two of her partners were standing by her. Ummm, not so fast. Later in the day, Walmart issued this statement:

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