|12 Companies That Have Dropped Paula Deen|
|By ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Jun 29, 2013, 6:00 PM|
It appears that there is little that remains of Paula Deen's crumbling empire in wake of criticism surrounding the controversy in which the celebrity chef admitted to using racial slurs.
Random House's Ballantine Books joined the ranks of the Food Network, Smithfield, Wal-Mart, and a bevy of other companies in ceasing its relationship with the self-proclaimed queen of butter.
The publisher released a statement on Friday, saying it would not release Deen's forthcoming cookbook, "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Recipes: All Lightened Up" as well as four other cookbooks the chef had been contracted to write.
The book, which was scheduled to hit shelves in October, had soaring advanced sales and ranked No. 1 on Amazon.com as of Thursday morning, The Associated Press reported.
Yet despite the lucrative presale, Ballantine Books said the decision came after "careful consideration," according to the AP.
The Southern chef, 66, and her brother are being sued for racial and sexual discrimination by Lisa Jackson, who worked as a manager of their Savannah, Ga., restaurant. During a deposition in May, Jackson's lawyer asked Deen whether she'd ever used the N-word. She said she had.
But in a statement to ABC News, Paula Deen Enterprises said the chef was "speaking largely about a time in American history which was quite different than today."
While Deen's literary agent, Jannis Donnaud, told the AP that she was "confident that these books will be published and that we will have a new publisher," this breach marks the 12th company to cut ties with the southern chef.
While Deen's folksy charm was on full display on her successful cooking show, "Paula's Best Dishes," the channel that catapulted the chef to fame was the first to end its relationship with her once she fell under scrutiny for admitting to have used racial slurs.
"Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," a spokesperson told ABC News on June 21.
Food Network's decision might have sparked a fire under other brands with longstanding ties to Deen, who had made her mark on the channel on her first show, "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2002.
Deen was dropped by the global pork producing company following a maelstrom of criticism directed at the chef in wake of the scandal.
"Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen," the company based in Smithfield, Va., said in a statement on June 24. "Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned."
The Smithfield deal, in which Deen served as a spokeswoman for the brand, including her own line of hams, since 2006, will likely cost her $1 million to $2 million in profit loss, Forbes wealth reported Caleb Melby told ABCNews.com.
Retail giant Wal-Mart ended its relationship with Deen and said Wednesday it would not place "any new orders beyond what's already committed," a Wal-Mart spokesperson told ABC News.
Wal-Mart carries a number of products under her name, including food items, cookware, and health and wellness products at all of its 4,000 stores in the United States, the AP reported.
Following Deen's tearful appearance on the "Today" show, Target Corp. also announced Thursday it would no longer be working with Deen.
"We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Target.com. Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory," a spokesperson for Target told ABC News Radio.
According to US Weekly, Home Depot said Wednesday that it would stop carrying Paula Deen products in its kitchen and cookware departments.
Deen's announcement that she had Type 2 Diabetes came as a shock to many, but when she took the role of spokeswoman for global pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk and its diabetes drug, Victoza, she upped the ante -- and her earnings -- by a cool $6 million, according to Forbes.
But in the wake of the southern chef's fall from grace, the Diabetes drug maker released a statement saying that it and Deen had "mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now, while she takes time to focus her attention where it is needed."
Caesars Entertainment Corp. joined the ranks of other enterprises when it said Wednesday it had "mutually decided" with Deen to remove her name from its restaurants in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind., the AP reported.
The company said it plans to re-brand those restaurants in the near future.
"While we appreciate Paula's sincere apologies for statements she made in her past that she recently disclosed during a deposition given in response to a lawsuit, after thoughtful consideration of their impact, we have mutually decided that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways at this time," a representative for Caesars Entertainment told ABC News Radio.
The home shopping network took what may be perceived as a more forgiving approach with Deen and announced it "decided to take a pause" from the southern chef.
While QVC would phase out her products from its online sales channels over the next few months, the network didn't shut the door on working with Deen forever.
"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," QVC President and CEO Mike George said in a letter to customers on Thursday. "People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing."
Deen led the charge on the announcement that she and QVC would be parting ways.
"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," she said. "I am truly sorry and assure you I will work hard to earn your forgiveness."
J.C. Penney Co., Sears Holdings Corp., and Walgreens were the latest corporations to jump on the bandwagon and nullify relations with Deen.
"After careful consideration of all available information, we have made the decision to phase out all products tied to the brand," Sears, parent of both its namesake department store chain and Kmart, said in a statement to the AP. "We will continue to evaluate the situation. Our members' needs will be given first priority."
Walgreens announced that it would be phasing out its Deen-branded products as well, which include tortilla chips and a selection of soups.