Tim Allen


Tim Allen certainly isn't shying away from speaking his mind.

The actor has stirred up controversy after giving a newspaper interview in which he openly and unapologetically talked about the use of the N-word in the wake of Paula Deen's racial-slur scandal.

And the erstwhile Home Improvement star isn't holding back, no matter what critics might say.

While speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, the comedian lamented how the use of politically correct phrases is, to his mind, oftentimes more egregious than the actual epithet that they're trying to replace.

"[The phrase] 'the N-word' is worse to me than n---er," the 60-year-old comedian told the paper, adding that the toned-down phrase's very existence runs counter to how he thinks we should be approaching such a charged conversation.

"You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it," he said about the racial slur. "If I have no intent, if I show no intent, if I clearly am not a racist, then how can 'n---er' be bad coming out of my mouth?"

Paula Deen, Today Show

Peter Kramer/NBC

Allen then spoke frankly about invoking the N-word in the context of comedy.

"I've had this argument on stage a million times," he said. "I do a movie with Martin Lawrence, and pretty soon they're referring to me, 'Hey, my n----r's up.' So I'm the n---er if I'm around you guys but 7 feet away, if I said n---er, it's not right. It's very confusing to the European mind how that works, especially if I've either grown up or evolved or whatever, it literally was growing up in Colorado, with Hispanics and Anglos, that's all I remember."

He added: "So when Paula Deen [admits her language], they go after her, and now we've gone backwards in the world."

It's an ongoing debate that, Allen believes, sends conflicting messages.

"So this debate rages in the public, but when it gets to the comedy world, we're not even allowed to say it, and I gotta refer to it as the N-word, F-word, B-word," the comedian explained. "It gets all the way down the line. It gets really intense; we're running backwards."

In a statement to E! News, Allen addressed the furor surrounding his interview, saying, "If I offended anyone it wasn't my intention."

Since word first broke that Deen admitted to using the N-word in a legal deposition, the celebrity chef has seen her once-dominant empire battered in the aftermath. She was dropped by a slew of business partners—including JCPenney, Sears, Walgreens and Smithfield Foods, among others—and the Food Network eventually pulled the plug on her shows.

Ballantine Books, which had been set to publish her upcoming cookbook Paula Deen's New Testament, also announced that it was canceling the title's publication, despite the fact the book had soared to No. 1 on Amazon's best-seller list.

—Reporting by Ruth O'Neill

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