One of the most emotional moments of Sunday's highly emotional Emmy Awards was the surprise appearance of comedian Tracy Morgan -- the "30 Rock" star's first public appearance since his nearly fatal car accident in June 2014. When he walked onto the stage to present the Best Drama award, the last of the night, the entire audience gave him a standing ovation.
In the days leading up to the Emmys, Morgan's presence there was a tightly kept secret. Morgan even flew to LA on a private plane on Saturday to avoid being spotted.
But the Hollywood Reporter writes that Morgan's big reveal was nearly spoiled by the Queen of Southern Cuisine -- that's right, Paula Deen.
Apparently, Deen was staying in the same LA hotel as Morgan, and at some point over the weekend, Deen saw Morgan in the lobby, and asked him to snap a photo. Only the last-minute intervention of a publicist stopped Deen from posting the picture to the Internet, which might have spoiled the surprise. (After all, why would Morgan visit LA on the weekend of the Emmy Awards if he weren't participating?)
Deen has been in LA for several weeks to prepare for her upcoming appearance on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." The show is meant to be a key plank in her long-running quest to return to public favor after it was revealed that she had a history of racial insensitivity. Ruining Morgan's big surprise certainly wouldn't have helped her out in this arena.
To give Deen the benefit of the doubt though -- more, perhaps, than she deserves -- she might feel warmly toward Morgan because he once defended her behavior on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", sort of. In November 2013, he said that he thought "people were way too hard on her," explaining, "She’s a 65-year-old white woman from the South. I wouldn’t trust her if she didn’t use the N-word!”
Requests for comment from Deen and Morgan's publicists were not immediately returned.
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