This morning, Paula Deen bravely returned to NBC's TODAY show to apologize, again, for making racist remarks in front of her former employees. Host Matt Lauer grilled Deen on her last (failed) appearance, her apologies, her reputation, and her new network. After airing a segment on the last year of Deen's life — including a bit of her on-air apology — Lauer asked Deen what she thought: "I didn't even recognize that woman, that was a woman in trauma and shock, and the cold, hard fact was that I should not have been here... I probably should have been under the care of a doctor."
On when Deen finally realized she had hurt people: "I had to... get off the merry-go-round, so I could think and see things from all angles." Though the racial discrimination part of the lawsuit had been dropped, Deen's reputation was forever scarred, and over the last year she lost all of her sponsors. Just a year later, Deen is back with a new venture, the Paula Deen Network.
Lauer then asks Deen what lesson she's learned in the last year: "I've learned so much over the year that I really feel it's going to require another book." When Lauer tries to get Deen back on track regarding the lesson she learned, she interrupts him and says sharply, "Now I'm getting to that... but... we're working on a documentary... and it's going to air on the new network."
Finally Deen remembers the lesson she learned: "I learned so much when I sat quietly with my own thoughts. The most powerful thing, and I thought I knew it, but it's the power of words. I don't care how old they are. Words are so powerful, they can hurt, they can make people happy. My words hurt people, they disappointed people... I disappointed myself." After apologizing again, and discussing details about her new network, Lauer thanked Paula Deen and her family and started moving on to the next segment. While the show segued into a commercial break, Deen had to quip, with that crazy look in her eye: "The new network is going to be wonderful!"