QVC is the latest company to part ways with Paula Deen since the popular TV chef, restaurateur and cookbook author acknowledged using a racial slur in the past.
The company joins a growing list of other corporate entities — including Target, Home Depot and Wal-Mart — that have severed ties with the 66-year-old Deen since it was revealed that she said she had used the N-word.
On Thursday, Dean announced the news about the status of her relationship with QVC. In a statement addressed “to my customers at QVC,” Deen wrote, “I want to let you know how much I value my relationship with all of you and with QVC … As you know, I have some important things to work on right now, both personally and professionally. And so we’ve agreed that it’s best for me to step back from QVC and focus on setting things right. I am truly sorry and assure you I will work hard to earn your forgiveness.”
QVC issued its own statement, in which Mike George, the president and CEO, said the company was “troubled” by Deen’s statement and the allegations laid out against her in the lawsuit.
After extensive discussions with Deen and her team, the company “decided to take a pause,” George’s statement said. “Paula won’t be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months. We all think it’s important, at this moment, for Paula to concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and on her path forward.
“Some of you may wonder whether this is a ‘forever’ decision – whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing … .”
Deen herself has made several public appeals for understanding and forgiveness.
She has apologized for using the N-word –a highly offensive slur referring to blacks — and categorically denied allegations she is a racist.
Deen made the damaging admission during a deposition last month for a racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against her by Lisa Jackson, a former employee of Deen’s Savannah, Ga., restaurants. Her attorney has denied the allegations in the suit.
The Food Network was first to announce last week that it would not renew its contract with the folksy, self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking. She landed her first show there in 2002.