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Sears, Penney and book publisher sever ties with Paula Deen

By Anne D'Innocenzio

AP Retail Writer

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:00 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013


NEW YORK » Paula Deen's media and merchandising empire is collapsing.

Sears, J.C. Penney and Walgreen said Friday that they're cutting ties with Paula Deen, adding to the growing list of companies severing their relationship following revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.

Meanwhile, Paula Deen's publisher has canceled a deal with her for multiple books, including an upcoming cookbook that was the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Ballantine Books announced today it would not release "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up," which was scheduled for October and was the first of a five-book deal announced early last year. Interest in it had surged as Deen, who grew up in Albany, Ga., and specializes in Southern comfort food, came under increasing attack for acknowledging she had used the N-word.

Ballantine, an imprint of Random House Inc., said it had decided to cancel the book's publication after "careful consideration." It had no comment beyond what was in its brief statement, spokesman Stuart Applebaum said.

Sears Holdings Corp. said it will phase out all products tied to the brand after "careful consideration of all available information."

"We will continue to evaluate the situation," said the parent company of Sears and Kmart stores.

Both Sears and Kmart sold Paula Deen products.

In an email statement to The Associated Press, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said it decided to discontinue selling Deen-branded products.

Walgreen Co. said it was phasing out Paula Deen-branded products, which included tortilla chips and a selection of soups.

QVC took a more gentle approach today and said that it has decided to "take a pause" from Deen. The home shopping network said that Deen won't be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts, and it will phase out her product assortment on its 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," said Mike George, QVC's president and CEO in a letter posted on the company's website.

But QVC left the door open for Deen to return. "Some of you wonder whether this is a 'forever' decision — whether we are simply ending our association with Paula," continued George. "We don't think that's how relationships work. People deserve second chances."

Deen issued her own statement that was posted on QVC's webpage. "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

The developments are the latest blows dealt to Deen since comments she made in a court deposition became public.

Earlier this week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Home Depot all announced that they plan to stop selling cookware and other items with Deen's brand.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Novo Nordisk said it and Deen have "mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now." Deen, who specializes in Southern comfort food, had been promoting the company's drug Victoza since last year, when she announced she had Type 2 diabetes

On Monday, pork producer Smithfield Foods dropped her as a spokeswoman.

Caesars Entertainment also announced that Paula Deen's name is being stripped from four buffet restaurants owned by the company. Caesars said that its decision to rebrand its restaurants in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind., was a mutual one with Deen.

Last week, the Food Network said that it would not renew her contract.

The stakes are high for Deen, who Forbes magazine ranked as the fourth highest-earning celebrity chef last year, bringing in $17 million. She's behind Gordon Ramsay, Rachael Ray and Wolfgang Puck, according to Forbes.

Paula Deen Enterprises, which spans from TV shows to cookware and furniture, generates total annual revenue of nearly $100 million, estimates Burt Flickinger III, president of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.

But Flickinger estimates she could lose up to 80 percent of her business by next year as suppliers extricate themselves from their agreements.

Not every company Deen does business with has severed ties with the celebrity chef. Among other stores that sell her products, Kohl's Corp. declined to comment, while Macy's Inc. said Thursday that it continues to "monitor the situation."

Hoffman Media LLC, the publisher of "Cooking with Paula Deen" magazine, announced today that it was continuing to publish her bi-monthly publication.

"Hoffman Media has worked closely with Ms. Deen since 2005," said Eric Hoffman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hoffman Media in a statement. "The recent images portrayed by the media do not reflect the person we know on a personal or a professional level."






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false wrote:
This is how the batter dipped, pork fat fried cookie crumbles...
on June 28,2013 | 08:47AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Written between mouthfuls of your roast pork plate, 2 scoops, extra mac....
on June 28,2013 | 09:40AM
false wrote:
"My" roast pork plate? You don't know what I eat...
on June 28,2013 | 09:53AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Only playing. Unruffle those feathers.
on June 28,2013 | 11:32AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Uh that was MY roast pork plate and for your info, I had three scoops of potato salad not mac.
on June 28,2013 | 09:58AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Most adults have used racial slurs or epithets at sometime during their lives, especially in their younger years when telling ethnic jokes was as common as breathing air. And now these people are acting like God and are persecuting Deen for doing what they did. It is political correctness running amok.
on June 28,2013 | 09:06AM
miss_laulau wrote:
I agree. I don't think Paula Deen is a mean and cruel person. Things are getting out of hand.
on June 28,2013 | 09:11AM
false wrote:
It's not persecution, or a "witch hunt" as someone else commented - it's simply how big business works. These companies paid her big bucks to be a spokesperson or to endorse product. You think they want all this negative press (warranted or not) and risk losing all those consumer dollars? Why do you think CBS fired Jimmy the Greek so quickly after what he said about blacks? They couldn't risk losing viewership and all the advertising dollars that went with it.
on June 28,2013 | 10:07AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Most people didn't say that they will put on a real Southern-style wedding party.
on June 28,2013 | 10:13AM
gobows wrote:
jus tar and feather her......
on June 28,2013 | 09:17AM
hawaiikone wrote:
A truly sad commentary on our society today.
on June 28,2013 | 09:38AM
false wrote:
What's so sad? She made a bunch of money and then blew it by opening her big mouth. There are much sadder things going on in out society than this.
on June 28,2013 | 09:58AM
8082062424 wrote:
this is nothing more then a witch hunt and it is sad. i am surprised this paper did not run the story on the anti haole t shirt and call that hate
on June 28,2013 | 10:39AM
hawaiikone wrote:
True, there are some very sad things happening in this world, and Mrs. Deen probably has enough to retire far better than most. What I see as sad is how quickly judgements are made based more on perceived profit margins than on any capability to forgive and move on. Particularly poignant is our readiness to condemn for an offense most of us have committed ourselves.
on June 28,2013 | 11:58AM
ya_think wrote:
Show me one local guy who has never said: fricken Bodinki, Portagee, JAP, Buk-Buk/flip, Haole or Papolo
on June 28,2013 | 10:04AM
ya_think wrote:
Show me one local guy who has never said: fricken Bodin ki, Portage e, JA P, Buk- Buk/fl ip, Ha ole or Papo lo
on June 28,2013 | 10:04AM
hanalei395 wrote:
That last word. The way you spelled it ...no "local guy" said it that way. Only you.
on June 28,2013 | 10:27AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The term "Ha ole", is in the Hawaiian dictionary and is NOT derogatory. It means Caucasian.
on June 28,2013 | 10:39AM
jess wrote:
I thought it meant visitor/not from here. Not caucasian...
on June 28,2013 | 01:37PM
hanalei395 wrote:
"Ha ole" meant foreigner before other people of different races began arriving in Hawai'i. It now means Caucasian. And before all of that, when the Hawaiians took a look of Capt. Cook and crew, with the bad teeth and what looked like to them, unhealthy skin, they were said to be "without breath" ...."ha ole". ("Malihini" means visitor, newcomer, guest).
on June 28,2013 | 02:06PM
tiki886 wrote:
Then how come SA censors the word? You even had to split the word in half to get it posted.
on June 28,2013 | 05:42PM
hanalei395 wrote:
By the tone of the voice, "ha ole" can be a term of endearment. But if there's the f-word before it ...and the wrong tone of voice, it's not.
on June 28,2013 | 10:59AM
hanalei395 wrote:
And there are people who are ha ole,... who call other people who are ha ole,..."ha ole".
on June 28,2013 | 11:32AM
honupono wrote:
they are not spokespeople that represents various businesses. She (Deen) can say anything she wants, if she says it in public to other people especially employees or contracted workers, then this is what she potentially could have gotten. Don't be an A** she was wrong as a public figure and now those businesses are choosing to break ties. Boo hoo for her, the problem was, she got caught. Lol.
on June 28,2013 | 11:31AM
false wrote:
Exactly. If I'm paying you to endorse my company, guess what - you don't get to use the "N" word.
on June 28,2013 | 11:52AM
hon2255 wrote:
Paula has enough money to live out her life in comfort ,southern comfort.
on June 28,2013 | 10:09AM
stingray65 wrote:
You play with fire, you get burn bad!! Lost those big companies like Walmart, Sears, and other retailers in this country? She is in a deep trouble..
on June 28,2013 | 10:39AM
8082062424 wrote:
This is sad it become a witch hunt. I am shocked this paper did not run the story on the 808skate Hawaii t shirt and call it hate speech
on June 28,2013 | 10:41AM
konag43 wrote:
these co's are so stupid. just like they themselves have never used the n word before. people will still shop at these stores no matter what paula dean said or may have not said. agree with ronin006
on June 28,2013 | 11:28AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
What are you talking about? These are companies...they speak through spokespeople, and I can guarantee that no spokesperson for any of these companies has ever dropped an n-word in a press release.

What you say in the privacy of your home, right or wrong, is your business. Once you leave the house, you're "out in public". For a public figure, someone is always listening, and you're going to be called out for the things you say. Understanding this shouldn't be THIS difficult in 2013.

Forgiving "Paula Deen, the person" for her comments and ludicrous Southern wedding idea seems like the natural thing to do. Forgiving "Paula Deen, the celebrity spokesperson" is much tougher because these companies are paying her good money to be one of the faces of their business.


on June 28,2013 | 11:56AM
false wrote:
IRT GooglyMoogly: It's not that difficult to understand. What I think some people don't understand is how endorsement deals work.
on June 28,2013 | 12:28PM
mamacita808 wrote:
Paula Deen was between a rock and a hard place. If she denied using the n-word all those years ago, she would have been called a liar. She told the truth and gets persecuted for it. Either way, she loses.
on June 28,2013 | 12:41PM
false wrote:
Far worse than just being called a liar, if she had lied under oath she would've been charged with perjury.
on June 28,2013 | 01:03PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Paula Deen is now the new HOT POTATO. Ouch ouch ouch...
on June 28,2013 | 02:24PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Who among us have never used the "N" word? Yes, because Paula Deen is a celebrity she is more vulnerable to the whims of the media regarding her behavior, past or present. But what is failed to be mentioned is that the root of all of this is a lawsuit filed by her former employee, Lisa Jackson. And she does come with a big baggage including her claims that she was a victim of racial discrimination. Quite frankly, it does not work because she is in fact, white. Further she claimed that her relationship to someone that is her niece is part black so she is affected by Paula Deen's use of the "N" word. Wrong, that person came out and said that the niece is in fact, Hispanic. There are a lot of shady things about the accuser. But at the same time, Paula Deen's brother, is mired in activities that include looking at pornography at work and making sexist remarks. Had this been about her brother, then maybe that would be a legitimate case. But I don't believe that Paula Deen's use of the "N" word makes her a racist. Even blacks use the "N" word. If that word is so evil, why do they proliferate its use? The word is even used in a lot of rap music. So, what is really sad is that the accuser in this whole thing stands to make millions from her lawsuit against a celebrity for using the "N" word. If there is any evil in this society, it is in the use of lawsuits to claim millions wrongfully as encouraged by money hungry lawyers. Why isn't the media focusing on the accuser given the discrepancies in her claims? Because Paula Deen is the big fish and big fish bring in big money in terms of coverage.
on June 28,2013 | 02:49PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I beg to differ. Who among us have never used the word? Yes, because Paula Deen is a celebrity she is more vulnerable to the whims of the media regarding her behavior, past or present. But what is failed to be mentioned is that the root of all of this is a lawsuit filed by her former employee, Lisa Jackson. And she does come with a big baggage including her claims that she was a victim of racial discrimination. Quite frankly, it does not work because she is in fact, white. Further she claimed that her relationship to someone that is her niece is part black so she is affected by Paula Deen's use of the word. Wrong, that person came out and said that the niece is in fact, Hispanic. There are a lot of shady things about the accuser. But at the same time, Paula Deen's brother, is mired in activities that include making sexist remarks. Had this been about her brother, then maybe that would be a legitimate case. But I don't believe that Paula Deen's use of the word makes her a racist. Even blacks use the word. If that word is so evil, why do they proliferate its use? So, what is really sad is that the accuser in this whole thing stands to make millions from her lawsuit against a celebrity for using the word. If there is any evil in this society, it is in the use of lawsuits to claim millions wrongfully as encouraged by money hungry lawyers. Why isn't the media focusing on the accuser given the discrepancies in her claims? Because Paula Deen is the big fish and big fish bring in big money in terms of coverage.
on June 28,2013 | 02:51PM
Graham wrote:
Have Dr. Phi's son publish the book....
on June 28,2013 | 03:19PM
tiki886 wrote:
It happened 30 years ago. I loved the movie Django by the way. Jamie Fox is da bomb.
on June 28,2013 | 05:46PM
NormalCitizen wrote:
I find it so frustrating that Deen can face such negative consequences for using the "N" word while people like Rep. Hanohano - an elected official in the most diverse state in the nation - can get away with using the term "Jap" and have nothing hapen to her......She is still a representative and maintained her Chairperson position.......if she faced any negative consequences......I really didn't see any.
on June 30,2013 | 11:50AM
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