TODAY   |  June 22, 2013

Can Paula Deen bounce back?

“I think she needs to go undercover,” said Steve Adubato, a media analyst and author. Lola Ogunnaike, a pop culture expert, disagreed. “She’s got to face the fire,” she said. The Food Network’s Paula Deen has been embroiled in controversy following revelations she used racial epithets. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews Steve Adubato and Lola Ogunnaike.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> steve is a media analyst and author of "you are the brand." good morning to you. let's start with you. she is her own brand .

>> she is.

>> how deep is the damage here?

>> i think, if she doesn't nip this in the bud, it could be amazingly damaging to her brand. her pr people bungled this entire affair, starting from the deposition. her answer to the question, have you ever used the "n" word shouldn't have been of course. it should have been i used it and i am apologetic. from there on, it's been a mess. cancelling on matt lauer , not a good idea. her people should have never allowed her to agree to sit down to an interview.

>> there's another part of this. i appreciate the media handlers. in the end, you take responsibility for your own brand .

>> you do.

>> she made a lot of money branding herself. she makes money on the "today" show promoting herself. to make the commitment to come on the show, no holds bars, i'm exhausted, which is a yump nichl of i'm not ready for the questions or the follow up. then to put this lame video, the more people that see the video, the worst it is for paula deen . she didn't step up and face the fire. i think she needs to go away, go under cover and have people try to forget what is embarrassing for her.

>> celebrities get in hot water for what they say. there's an arc. a statement, you use the sponsorship, then find your way back in.

>> race is different.

>> that was my question, race is here. how does that change it?

>> i don't think she needs to disappear just yet. face the fire. sit down with somebody, walk us through what was going through your mind, then i agree, she needs to disappear. before she disappears, she needs to sit down with someone, obviously, i think she needs to sit down with the "today" show and answer the questions. she's got to face the fire.

>> how does she explain what was going on in her mind when she said publicly, at my brother's wedding what i would like is a group of "n" word boys dressed up in white shirts and black pants. that would be a southern wedding. i want to hear paula deen explain what was going on in her head, then go on a tour. if that's in your head and heart, what are you apologizing for? that you said it or got caught?

>> that's always the question. are you sorry for what you did or that you got caught.

>> she has to answer that question.

>> we all say things we are embarrassed by. i think this is a long term situation. i think she needs to go under cover for awhile and ask herself what she believes in and do some good thing that is are not so public to help people go away for awhile.

>> i agree with you. say i'm sorry, publicly, sit down with someone before she disappears.

>> on the "today" show.

>> we agree with that.