Update: Sears and KMart announced this morning that they are severing ties with Paula Deen, while QVC said it is "taking a pause" with their relationship. "After careful consideration of all available information, we have made the decision to phase out all products tied to the brand," a rep for Sears Holdings, which owns both Sears and KMart stores, told Fox News.
The use of some very weighty words has caused butter and oil connoisseur Paula Deen to lose more than just her job at The Food Network. The 66-year-old chef and TV host has also paid the price of her racist comments by suffering the loss of several large endorsement deals.
Paula’s appearance on the Today show couldn’t have helped matters, as she cried and apologized for her “sin,” denying that she is racist. Then she asked viewers to throw a rock at her head if they’d never said something they later regretted. “I is what I is and I'm not changing," she said in a rather unfortunate quote.
Before the interview, the Food Network had announced that it was dropping the veteran personality from their Friday evening lineup, and even more sponsors have jumped ship. So far, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, Walmart, and Caesar’s Entertainment have dropped Paula. Caesar’s Entertainment owns four casinos across the nation that feature Paula Deen’s restaurants.
The latest news is coming from Target, who revealed to TMZ that the will be phasing out their Paula Deen products immediately. "We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Target.com,” the representative for Target told TMZ. “Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory."
Eater has also announced that Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures the diabetes drug Victoza that Paula endorsed since she came out about her own Type II diabetes diagnosis, has decided to “suspend” their relationship.
The big names that are still left standing are Sears and QVC, among a few smaller brands, although the fate of those deals is uncertain.
While Paula’s sponsorship springs continue to dry up left and right, her cookbook sales are surprisingly up. Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up has jumped to #1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list, which is monumental considering it was in the 1,500s on Monday. Side note: It isn’t even being released until October! Another book, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, is now #7 on Amazon’s list, and a few other titles are sold out.
The roller coaster ride continues for the Southern comfort food chef. It remains to be seen whether her recent decision to hire Washington D.C. crisis firm Smith & Co., per info from Ad Age, works some kind of magic with her ailing empire.