'It just felt kind of sad': Oprah Winfrey opens up about Paula Deen's use of the N-word... as she reveals her own recent brush with racism
By LIZZIE SMITH
PUBLISHED: 11:02 EST, 6 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:31 EST, 6 August 2013
After bonding with Paula Deen during an interview last year, Oprah Winfrey spent a night under the now disgraced star's roof as her guest.
Now Oprah has spoken for the first time about Deen's spectacular fall from grace, after the celebrity chef admitted previously using the 'N-word' amid accusations of racism.
The Butler star simply said that she felt the whole thing was 'kind of sad', in an interview in which she also revealed her own recent experience of racism.
Scroll down for video
Not in touch: Oprah Winfrey poses with Paula Deen during an interview for Oprah's Next Chapter last year; the chatshow host has now commented on the TV chef's racism scandal
Talking to Entertainment Tonight Oprah explained: '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.
'In time she will be fine. For me, it all just felt kind of sad.'
And Oprah added that she hoped when the scandal had died down there would be space for a 'real conversation' about racism in today's world.
Last year Oprah interviewed Deen for her Oprah's Next Chapter show, getting under her skin during a visit to her home in Georgia.
Deen is currently being sued by a former employee who claims she and her brother would repeatedly use offensive racial words in the workplace.
Speaking out: Oprah, seen at the premiere of The Butler in New York on Monday night, has called the scandal 'sad'
Court documents revealed the 66-year-old had told an attorney questioning her under oath that she has used the N-word.
'Yes, of course,' Deen said, though she added, 'It's been a very long time.'
A grovelling video apology from Deen did little to stem the backlash, which saw her TV contract cancelled and endorsement deals pulled.
Expanding on her comments Oprah later told Extra: 'She is not the first white lady to use the N-word. Good lord!'
Bonding: During her interview with Deen, Oprah even spent a night under her roof
And she insisted: 'Oh my god! I don't have anything to do with Paula Deen.'
Oprah also revealed that she herself had recently experienced racism, despite her worldwide fame.
While in Switzerland for her friend Tina Turner's wedding Oprah told ET how she walked into a designer store to choose herself a treat.
But the assistant did not recognise her and having assumed that she would not be able to afford a bag ignored the billionaire.
Speaking out: Oprah Winfrey addresses the Paula Deen racism controversy in an interview with Extra
After waiting unsuccessfully for acknowledgement Oprah quietly left, after deciding she did not want to give the assistant her commission.
She told ET that while she no longer experienced overt racism such as name-calling, she experienced discrimination.
'It shows up for me if I'm in a boardroom or situations where I'm the only woman or I'm the only African American person within a hundred mile radius.
'I can see in the energy of the people there, they don't sense that I should be holding one of those seats. I can sense that.
'But I can never tell, "Is it racism? Is it sexism?"'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2385515/Oprah-Winfrey-talks-Paula-Deens-use-N-word--reveals-recent-experience-racism.html#ixzz2bHHfCGe0
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook