MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- If you asked the mixed crowd of lunchers at the Bear's Den in Macon, you'll get a lot of mixed emotion over Paula Deen's use of the n-word.
"I don't feel comfortable using it, if I was of the other race I definitely wouldn't use it and I wouldn't question why there was an issue with me using it," said Jonda Rhoden.
"A lot of people from all backgrounds are supporting her because I don't know of anybody that hasn't mistakenly said something that they didn't mean," said Martha Branson.
It's a mistake that's costing Deen big-time. Monday, Smithfield Foods dropped her as its spokeswoman. Last Friday, The Food Network announced it will not renew her contract.
"Basketball players. They did it to Akon. You know different things that go on, you know, Nike'll pull it, and I don't feel like an exception should be made for her just because she's on the Food Network," said Rhoden.
Shawn Montgomery doesn't feel the punishment fits the crime.
"The penalty for using it is just as unacceptable, maybe even more so. The old nursery rhyme, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, it's about time we live by that," said Montgomery.
As someone who's been called that word in the past, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones, says celebrity or not, it's time to forgive and forget.
"Society today, nobody wants to forgive any one for anything. If you make a mistake it's held over your head for ever and ever... going through Willingham High School in the integration years, the things that was done to me, I just learned to forgive," said Jones.
Deen who apologized for missing her TODAY Show interview last Friday, tweeted today, she'll appear on the show Wednesday morning. You can watch the interview on 41NBC.