Under intense scrutiny after recently acknowledging about her past use of a racial slur, which resulted in the loss of millions in endorsements, celebrity chef Paula Deen has cut ties with agent Barry Weiner, ABC News confirmed.
“Paula Deen has separated from her agent,” according to a statement from Deen’s spokeswoman, Elana Weiss, on Friday. “She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years. Paula wishes him well in all future endeavors.”
After more than a decade together, in which Weiner helped Deen become a major Food Network star and had her products lining the shelves of big-box giants like Wal-Mart and Target, the comfort food queen has decided to go in a new direction.
Deen’s woes started after she admitted under oath in May, as part of a civil lawsuit, to having had used the N-word, though she said it happened a long time ago.
It didn’t matter to the Food Network, Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Ballantine Books and QVC, who all distanced themselves from the chef and her tarnished reputation.
The lawsuit, in which Deen’s testimony was made public, was filed by Lisa Jackson, who said she worked in an environment filled with racial slurs in the business co-owned by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers.
Weiner was instrumental in being one of the first to see star quality in Deen, one that needed to be on TV, according to Deen in her 2007 book. A call to Weiner’s rep wasn’t immediately returned.
It was this vision that Weiner had for Deen that resulted in her first show, “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2002.