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MSNBC’s PoliticsNation host Reverend Al Sharpton said that critics shouldn’t judge Paula Deen by her use of the word “ni**er” decades ago, reports TMZ.com.

“A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago,” he replied. “I think she has a lawsuit now about activities now whether it was discriminatory. And whether or not she’s engaged in things now. It’s not about her past. … She deserves what’s fair, but that’s based on what she’s engaged in now.”

“You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago,” he added.

See clip below:

As previously reported by NewsOneBill Maher also defended chef Paula Deen‘s use of the word “ni**er” by declaring it freedom of speech on par with Hip-Hop music.

“People shouldn’t have to lose their shows and go away when they do something bad,” said Maher. “It’s just a word. It’s a wrong word. She was wrong to use it. But do we always have to make people go away?”

Maher joins Dr. Boyce Watkins, who in an appearance on CNN’s AC360 argued that Deen’s age and environment should be taken into account when judging her; Maher also joins Roland Martin who argued that Black people should be just as upset when other Black people use the n-word as racist White people.

As previously reported by NewsOne, the Food Network released a brief statement on Friday afternoon effectively firing Deen:

“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”

Also On News One: