Paula Deen has currently been in the spotlight for apparently using the 'N word' 30 years ago. Now, her empire begins to crumble with big retailers and business partners pulling out and 'firing' the celebrity chef.

The controversial subject has come up quite a bit at our studios, as I'm sure you may have discussed at your own work. While most we've talked to appear to be on her side, saying that if her statement is true, the incident happened in a 'different life time'- others say it doesn't matter the time and situation, the word should have never been said!

Another arguement is the use of the 'N' word overall, asking the question: Why is it alright for other African Americans to use the word in modern songs and casual conversation, yet a woman who used the word 30 years ago is now coming under fire? Before you comment in the section below or vote, make sure you watch the Today Show clip.

According to the New York Daily News, Between her TV work, speaking engagements, cookbooks, licensing and endorsements, Forbes estimates her wealth at $17 million. Network sources said she was paid between $10,000 and $20,000 for each episode of her various shows. In the wake of this information becoming public, Deen is struggling to keep her empire from crumbling after being 'fired' from the Food Network and being dropped by retailers like Wal-Mart and Ceasar's buffet restaurants.

New York Daily News continues to explain: "The Food Network dropped the star of “Paula’s Best Dishes” and “Paula’s Home Cooking” after Deen’s testimony that she used the racial epithet went public. The deposition stemmed from a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by a former manager at the Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, a Savannah, Ga., restaurant owned by Deen and her brother."

On the Today Show, Deen stated that she's never used the 'N word,' except for one time "30 years ago when someone put a gun to her head" during a bank robbery attempt. Before you vote in our poll or comment below, watch her emotional interview with Matt Lauer, then tell us what you think? (The quote will come up at about 4:30 in the video, with another powerful statement at about 12:00). Deen also released her own public apology videos.