As one of Paula Deen's friends, The Butler star Oprah Winfrey has refrained from commenting publicly on the N-word scandal that has seen the celebrity chef lose endorsement deal after endorsement deal.
However, in a new interview, the talk show host and actress shared her thoughts on the word itself, strongly hinting that her feelings towards Deen have dramatically changed.
Speaking to Parade about her new film The Butler, in which she stars alongside Forest Whitaker, she said: "You cannot be my friend and use that word around me.
Oprah Winfrey and Paula Deen (WENN)
"It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it... I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree."
Whitaker added: "I don't use the word. Never did."
Oprah visited Deen at her home last year for an in-depth interview for her Oprah's Next Chapter series.
The Butler's director Lee Daniels said that Oprah led him to change his own views on the N-word, explaining: "It's a word I used quite a bit, until Oprah sat me down and talked to me about its power."
Deen admitted in a filmed deposition trial that she had used the term in the past, leading to a media firestorm in which companies rushed to sever ties with her. She also appeared on The Today Show for a tearful interview in a bid to explain herself, but was met by a cold reaction from the audience.