TODAY's Talk

Kathie Lee: It's too early to pass judgment on Paula Deen

June 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM ET

Video: TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb discuss the fallout that celebrity chef Paula Deen is facing after admitting to using a racial slur. Drawing on her own experience, Kathie Lee warns against a rush to judgment about Deen.

Paula Deen's career is in mid-downward spiral after her admission last week that she had, in fact, used racist language in her past, which led both the Food Network and Smithfield Foods to cut ties with the celeb cook.

But Kathie Lee is reserving judgment.

“This lawsuit is just in the discovery process," KLG pointed out on Tuesday. "I'm just a little worried that we are condemning a person. The facts are not yet in.”

While the lawsuit remains ongoing, Hoda said Paula still needs to address the revelations about her past.

“She needs to do damage control pronto to see if this thing could stop," Hoda said.

Though Paula was a no-show to her interview with Matt Lauer last week, the ladies are holding out hope that her scheduled sit-down on Wednesday will allow her to shed a little more light on the matter.

Kathie Lee said she really felt for Paula, and that the situation hit home for her. “I've been in that position, where I've been accused of something horrendous," she said. "And it wasn't true at all. It may all be true, but the point is we don't know yet. The people who stood by me and knew it wasn't true. God Bless them.”

The kindness of one stranger in particular made KLG nearly tear up: “I'll never forget," she remembered. "This lady was wearing a dress of mine, and she goes 'I just want you to know, when you were accused of that, I went out and I bought five of your dresses. Because I knew it wasn't true.'”

Of the current controversy over Paula Deen, Kathie Lee urged a little more caution. "The facts will come out," she said. "But let's not rush to judgment.”

“I'm with you!” Hoda cheered.

To which KLG laughed: “For a change, yes!”

TOP