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Smithfield drops Paula Deen as spokeswoman

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:05 p.m. HST, Jun 24, 2013

NEW YORK »  Paula Deen lost another part of her empire: Smithfield Foods said it is dropping her as a spokeswoman.

Today's announcement came days after the Food Network said it would not renew the celebrity cook's contract in the wake of revelations that she used racial slurs in the past.

Smithfield sold Paula Deen-branded hams in addition to using her as a spokeswoman. In a statement, the company said it "condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen."

QVC also said it was reviewing its deal with Paula Deen Enterprises to sell the star's cookbooks and cookware.

"QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation," QVC said in a statement. "We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC."

Several retailers, which sell Paula Deen cookware, were taking a wait-and-see approach.

Sears Holdings Corp. said it "is currently exploring next steps as they pertain to Ms. Deen's products." Target Corp. said it is "evaluating the situation." Meyer Corp., which produces the cookware under the Paula Deen brand, declined to comment.

Marty Brochstein, senior vice president of The Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, a trade group, said stores may have a tougher time determining whether to cut ties with Deen than Smithfield and the Food Network, where she has a public role.

"Once you take the wrapper off, her name isn't necessarily on every piece of merchandise," Brochstein said. "As a retailer or as a licensee, you have to evaluate. But you're probably not going to gain anything by overreacting."

Brochstein said that stores are likely closely watching sales of the merchandise and monitoring social media as they gauge how consumers are responding.

"We're in the midst of this. It hasn't played out," he added.

Deen's rapid fall from favor came after the 66-year-old Food Network star admitted in a deposition in a discrimination lawsuit that she used racial slurs in the past. Deen was asked under oath if she had ever used the N-word. "Yes, of course," Deen said, though she added, "It's been a very long time."

Deen insisted she and her family do not tolerate prejudice, and in a videotaped apology, she asked fans and critics for forgiveness. It had been posted online for about an hour when the Food Network released a terse statement that it "will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month." The network declined to comment further.

Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp., which has Deen's restaurants in some of its casinos, said Friday that it "will continue to monitor the situation." Publisher Ballantine, which has a new Deen book scheduled to roll out this fall, used similar words.

Earlier Monday, NBC's Matt Lauer said Deen would appear Wednesday on "Today." Last week she abruptly canceled on the morning show before posting her videotaped apologies.

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mrluke wrote:
Doesn't she know that only African-American comedians are allowed to use the "N" word. No one else is permitted to say it, spell it or think it!
on June 24,2013 | 12:29PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Different attitudes. Black comedians used it as a reminder ...slavery/segregation ... white supremacists want to forget it.
on June 24,2013 | 07:22PM
mrluke wrote:
B.S. They use it as a joke!! Because they know they can say it and get some laughs. Get Real!!
on June 24,2013 | 08:42PM
Bdpapa wrote:
on June 24,2013 | 09:35PM
mitt_grund wrote:
A certain former Hawaii State Librarian was selected as Director of Prince George's County public library system in Maryland. A big brouhaha is reported to have taken place about his use of the N-word. Soon after, he was released from his position. Among the reasons cited was failure to perform administrative duties satisfactorily. The N-word incident itself was not cited as a reason, however, there was substantial coverage of it both locally and in Prince George's. Point is that a seemingly minor event may have the potential to be extremely disruptive. An admission of past N-word usage may or may not be indicative of one's current biases, but it is clear that she thought that way at one time, to the point of wanting to have black "servants" at an event to reflect the ante-bellum heyday of the South. Oh, well... As for "Afro-American comedians" using the N-word, we need only look at comedian Frank de Lima to know that he takes certain liberties with his ethnicity, not to mention that of others. Comedic license?
on June 24,2013 | 10:47PM
serious wrote:
I hate to beat on someone who's down, but her diabetes thing, when she became a paid spokesperson for a diabetes drug company after she got her "fans" exposed to diabetes was just too much. Let her collect her millions and retire!!!
on June 24,2013 | 12:30PM
bpet wrote:
This is turning into a real witch hunt . . .the woman admitted to having used racial slurs IN THE PAST . . .a very long time ago . . ..is there one person out there who can say that they have never done the same, in their entire life? If there is, I would suggest that person is a liar . . .prejudice and racism is a learned behaviour, which can be 'unlearned' through education and enlightenment. What happened in the past, if a person learned from it and no longer displays that reprehensible behaviour, is in the past. Thus far, this three ring circus has the media and the public acting as judge and jury and has condemned Ms Deen without her having her day in court.
on June 24,2013 | 12:41PM
CriticalReader wrote:
WRONG. Whether she did in the recent past, distant past, is doing it as I write this, or does it in the future, it is wrong. If doors close because of it, that's the price paid. She's not getting the death penalty. She's not being put into jail. She IS getting sued on allegations of similar behavior, but all that's happening here is that people are saying they do not want to be associated with her, do not want to give them their money, and do not want her speaking for their products of reputations. That's their choice - the ultimate American Freedom. God Bless America!
on June 24,2013 | 05:52PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Oh, yeah, and, people are also saying they don't like her. Some are saying they don't like her anymore. In my case, I never liked her, never watched her, and wasn't in any way a fan. She struck me as phony - as do her heartfelt apologies and PC statements now.. So from the other end of the spectrum from you. I say good riddance.
on June 24,2013 | 05:57PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Got censored. You have no idea what u talking about.
on June 24,2013 | 09:40PM
lynnh wrote:
You said: "In my case, I never liked her, never watched her, and wasn't in any way a fan. She struck me as phony." If you never watched her, how would you know? You sound like a typical, liberal, attacker of people based on no experience.
on June 25,2013 | 12:00AM
geralddeheer wrote:
On the surface it would appear as if Ms. Dean said things in the past that she now regrets. We all make mistakes, Just ask Dog Chapman. The curious thing is when Dog uttered the same word (in the 'present') he was effectively suspended from work but allowed to return to television. So, why would large corporations supported by high paid attorney's terminate her contracts. 1) Because, if the lawsuit against her/business is valid, that would further open up a legal and public relations minefield for the current 'outside' parties. 2) There may be other documented instances not made public that further implicate Ms. Dean. My guess is that her problem is more 'present' than 'past'.
on June 24,2013 | 01:25PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Smithfield, the huge US pork producer that is trying to sell itself to China. The irony, it burns.
on June 24,2013 | 01:37PM
cojef wrote:
Yep, Smithfield has got to maintain its social image at this juncture to keep it stock price high and get the biggest bang from this public relation action.
on June 24,2013 | 02:23PM
inverse wrote:
What happened to Deen was brought upon herself and there was NO witch hunt. In the US she and her family are free to hold the belief that groups of Americans should go back to what it once was and that is the confederate flag and the purity of their race as the plantation owners. Current businesses like the food channel, QVC have every right to discontinue doing business with her as their bottom line would be more negatively than positively affected by continuing to do business with her. Also of significance is how this all came to the public eye. Deen's brother is being sued by an African American employee who alleges racial and sexual harassment. Will see how that turns out in court however this happens all the time as similar restaurant in Hawaii had to pay money for a restaurant manager who se xually harassed his employees and the owner did nothing about it. If Deen believed racism was unacceptable, she should have demanded to her brother and her family end that kind of B S who she would have nothing to do with them. She went along with them and now her brother and family will drag her down and she cannot claim innocence at this point. Just like the restaurant owner in Hawaii, Deen knew the racist and se xist c r p going on in her family related business and she turned a blind eye on it. Now that it has risen up and bit her in the ok le and pocketbook, forget the academy award crying of saying she is sorry and she is really and open minded and inclusive person. In Hawaii we have Faye Hano hano crying and apologizing, NOT for her racist, narrow minded rants, rather how she got caught and how it might affect her power in State gov't.
on June 24,2013 | 03:24PM
mrluke wrote:
Yada, yada, yada, yada....
on June 24,2013 | 08:38PM
mrluke wrote:
"Sent for approval". The bl@ck Hole of the SA!
on June 24,2013 | 08:51PM
mrluke wrote:
Amazing! On my first try, I couldn't say bl_ck!
on June 24,2013 | 08:53PM
lynnh wrote:
Oh my... Are you really that dumb? Diabetes is not contagious. It is generally hereditary.
on June 24,2013 | 11:57PM
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