Oprah on Paula Deen Controversy: 'Felt Kind of Sad'

Oprah Winfrey broke her silence on the controversy surrounding Paula Deen's admission of using the n-word.

Deen was dropped from the Food Network as well as a slew of other sponsors following allegations of racism that arose when the celebrity chef revealed having used the "n-word" long ago during a lawsuit deposition.

Last year, Winfrey interviewed Deen for an episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" and even spent a night at the Southern food specialist's Georgia home.

Following the 66-year-old's troubles, Winfrey admitted the urge to reach out, but then thought better of it.

"In the very first days I tried to reach her and then I decided to stay out of it as I saw it blowing up," the 59-year-old media mogul told Entertainment Tonight this week.

"I think Paula Deen was sort of used as a symbol, but I think lots of people use the word inappropriately all the time," Winfrey continued before noting: "I just really want to know what happened."

The television super star also predicted that the "dust will settle" when it comes to Deen's controversial statement, and that only then will a "real conversation" happen.

"In time, she will be fine," she said, according to ET. "For me, it all just felt kind of sad."

Alternately, during a different interview, "The Butler" star bluntly refused to comment on Deen.

"Oh my God, I don't have anything to do with Paula Deen," Winfrey laughed, according to Extra. "She is not the first white lady to use the N-word. Good Lord!"

Meanwhile, Deen's former employee Lisa Jackson filed a lawsuit against her, which alleges discrimination and racism at two of the chef's restaurants.

Following Deen's admission during the deposition, the Food Network did not renew the contract for "Paula's Home Cooking." Additionally, the Savannah, Georgia native was dropped from sponsors including Smithfield Foods, Sears, and many others.

In response to the outrage over her use of the n-word, Deen released an apology "to those that I have hurt" in an online video where she insisted that she and her family do not tolerate prejudice.

Despite the scandal, many of Deen's fans have banded together in support of the chef with the "butter campaign" which entails a Facebook group called "We Support Paula Deen" and has over 601,000 Likes.

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