While not condoning the racial slur, President Carter says Paula Deen has been severely punished for her admission.
ATLANTA -- Longtime friend and former President Jimmy Carter is speaking up for Paula Deen following her admission of using a racial slur many years ago.
"I think she's been punished perhaps overly, severely for her honesty in admitting it," Carter said in an interview with CNN.
His comments come as more companies severe their ties with the celebrity chef. Walgreens, Sears and QVC are the latest to join the growing list that includes; The Food Network, Walmart, Smithfield Foods, Caesars Palace, Novo Nordisk, Target and Home Depot.
"I advised her to let the dust settle and make apologies," Carter said.
However, when Deen tried to defend herself she may have done more damage.
"There's someone evil out there that saw what I worked for and they wanted it," Deen said on NBC's 'Today Show'.
And her son, Bobby, coming to her defense may not have helped.
"What it is, is really an extortion case," Bobby Deen exclaimed on CNN.
The comments appear to be aimed at Lisa Jackson, the woman suing Deen.
Atlanta employment and civil rights attorney Ed Buckley says the comments could result in another suit.
"When you accuse somebody of extortion, you're accusing them of a criminal act," he told 11Alive News.
The plaintiff's attorneys could potentially sue, but won't comment on that right now. Others are rallying to Dean's support, sending her book sales to the top of the list on Amazon. While the actual financial impact is not known, Buckley would not have let it go this far.
"Would you have settled this case?" we asked. "On Miss Deen's side? I think so," Buckley responded.