- Walmart, Home Depot and Caesars Entertainment Corporation are the latest brands to drop Deen
- Her $18 million business empire was already crumbling following the end of contracts with The Food Network and meat producer Smithfield
- On Wednesday morning a teary Deen told the Today show that she doesn’t believe she should have been fired
- A lawsuit last week revealed Paula Deen used racial slurs and wanted to throw a ‘plantation-style’ wedding for her brother
- Deen admitted to using ‘N-word’ and wanting black men dressed as slaves
Despite her teary interview on Wednesday morning’s Today show, Paula Deen has been dropped by yet another two sponsors.
Walmart, Home Depot and Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced that they were ending affiliations with the celebrity chef just hours after she told Matt Lauer: ‘I is what I is and I’m not changing.’
Deen’s $18 million business empire has been unraveling since she become embroiled in a racial controversy after a former employee testified that she had heard Deen, 66, repeatedly use the N-word and talk of how she wanted to have a plantation-themed wedding for her brother with an all-black serving staff to emulate slaves.
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‘Distressed’: Paula Deen appeared on the Today show on Wednesday morning to claim ‘hurtful lies’ had been spread about her, but by the afternoon had lost another two sponsors
Tears: She said that she had been brought up to treat everyone equally and that’s how she lives her life
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it will not place ‘any new orders beyond what’s already committed.’
The discounter has carrying Paula Deen-branded products at all of its U.S. namesake stores since 2011.
Caesars has Deen-themed restaurants – Paula Deen’s Kitchen – in four of its casinos in Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and Mississippi.
‘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,’ said Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications and government affairs for Caesars Entertainment.
The four restaurants will be rebranded in the coming months, according to the statement.
Paula’s losses: Walmart issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it will not place ‘any new orders beyond what’s already committed’
Walmart has been carrying Paula Deen-branded products at all of its U.S. namesake stores since 2011
The shamed chef pictured at the grand opening of Paula Deen’s Kitchen at Chicago Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel last April – the restaurant will now be rebranded
Deen, who reportedly raked in about $18 million in revenue in 2012, has already lost contracts with the Food Network and with Smithfield Foods.
But ‘she isn’t upset about the loss of money,’ a source told PEOPLE. ‘She’s really upset about her reputation.’
On Wednesday morning Deen made a dramatic appearance on the Today show in a last-ditch attempt to save her career in the wake of her racism scandal.
The disgraced chef sobbed as she claimed ‘very hurtful lies’ had destroyed her reputation and insisted that she had only used the N-word once – something she deeply regretted.
She added that she believed she should not have been dropped as a representative for Food Network and Smithfield and that other partners ‘who know who I am’ have stood beside her.
‘I is what I is, and I’m not changing,’ she sobbed. ‘If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up a rock and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. I want to meet you.’
Deen appeared on the Today show less than a week after she cancelled an interview with host Matt Lauer which was scheduled for last Friday.
‘The main reason I am here today is that it’s important to me that I tell you and everyone out there what I believe and how I live my life,’ she began. ‘I believe that every creature on this earth was created equal.
Plea: At one point, Deen looked directly at the camera and implored viewers to throw a rock at her head if they had never done anything wrong. ‘I want to meet you,’ she sobbed to camera
Speaking out: She insisted to Matt Lauer that she was not a racist, despite recent accusations
‘I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN FIRED’: HIGHLIGHTS OF TODAY INTERVIEW
On using a racial slur: ‘The day I used that word, it was a world ago. It was 30 years ago… I hear it at my restaurant. It makes my skin crawl.’
On making a mistake: ‘If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up a rock and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. I want to meet you.’
On telling the truth: ‘What you see is what you get. I’m not an actress. I have apologized… I have never, with any intention, hurt anybody on purpose. And I never would.’
‘There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like – that I am prejudiced against – and that’s thieves and liars.’
On the Food Network and Smithfield severing their ties with her: ‘Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No.’
‘I want people to know who I am and people that have worked beside me know what kind of person I am. I am so distressed that people I’ve never heard of are suddenly experts on who I am.
‘What you see is what you get. I’m not an actress. I’m heartbroken. I’ve had to hold friends in my arms as they’ve sobbed because they know what’s been sobbed about me that’s not true.’
She said that she had used a racist slur on one occasion in a stressful robbery situation, but said that ‘it was a world ago’ and something she regretted.
Deen admitted to using the n-word in a deposition that was released last week. On the Today show she said that, even knowing the upset is has caused her career, she would admit the truth if given the choice again.
‘There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like – that I am prejudiced against – and that’s thieves and liars,’ she said.
The 66-year-old cook became embroiled in the racial controversy when a former employee testified that she heard Deen repeatedly use the n-word and talk of how she wanted to have a plantation themed wedding for her brother with an all-black serving staff to emulate slaves.
After the testimony was released publicly, both Deen and her career have spiraled out of control in a public relations nightmare.
First she released a heavily-edited video on Friday where she spoke directly to her fans, asking for their forgiveness.
She was due to follow that up with an appearance on the Today Show that same morning, but cancelled at the last minute leaving co-anchor Matt Lauer to explain on air.
Calm before the storm: Deen is pictured ahead of her appearance on the Today show on Wednesday
Upset: She insisted while on the show that she is not a racist and would never intentionally hurt anyone
PAULA DEEN ‘HIRES TOP CRISIS COUNSELOR IN WAKE OF SCANDAL’
In the wake of her racism scandal, the beleaguered chef has reportedly hired a top crisis counselor.
She is rumored to have sought the help of Judy Smith, the inspiration for Kerry Washington’s character on ‘Scandal’, Page Six reported.
She is the founder, president, and CEO of the crisis management firm, Smith & Company. She previously served as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush, and later went on to provide crisis management for clients including Monica Lewinsky and actor Wesley Snipes.
Page Six recently reported that TV personality Star Jones said of Smith: ‘I’ve got her number on speed dial… If I listened to her advice more often, I wouldn’t have gotten into half the trouble I’m in.’
After the initial video was released another, longer one was then posted on YouTube and was taken down soon after.
In the second, she explains her absence from the Today show and apologizes ‘to those that I have hurt’.
She said: ‘I was invited to speak to Matt Lauer about a subject that has been very hurtful for a lot of people.
‘Matt I was physically not able this morning, the pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others so I am taking this opportunity, now that i have pulled myself together and am able to speak, to offer an apology for those I’ve hurt.’
Following her dismissal from the Food Network, meat producer Smithfield announced at the weekend that they will be dropping Deen as their company spokeswoman and will be ending their partnership. The company also sells a line of Paula Deen-branded hams.
The company released a statement saying it ‘condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen.’
Previous appearance: Paula Deen was initially going to appear on the Today show with Matt Lauer, both pictured, last Friday – but she pulled out just before the show started
Another blow came when it was announced over the weekend that she will not be appearing on home shopping network QVC as litigation continues in the discrimination lawsuit.
While the Food Network cut ties to the chef, who headlined three shows on the channel that she has worked with for the past 11 years, QVC has waited to make any final moves.
‘QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation. QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior,’ vice president Paul Capelli 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.’
Over the weekend, her loyal fans showed their support by lining up in droves to eat at her Savannah, Georgia restaurant, and bash the Food Network on social media.
Family: Bubba allegedly made repeated sexual jokes in front of co-workers. Both are accused of racist remarks
Transformation: Paula Deen, shed pounds after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but she will have to work harder to throw off her apparent admissions during the videotaped deposition
‘Everyone in this nation has used a racist comment at one time or another. She grew up in the South,’ Facebook user Maria O’Donnell wrote on the channel’s page.
Over the weekend, more stories about the chef’s alleged racism as a former employee alleged that Deen and her brother regularly called him ‘my little monkey’.
Another told how as an oyster cook at one of her restaurants the black waitstaff were regularly forced to work at her private parties held at her Savannah, Georgia estate without pay.
‘Paula and Bubba just gave us beer and alcohol and I don’t even drink. It was insulting and unfair. I was like, “Pay me!”‘ Sheldon J. Ervin told Radar.
Shilling no more: Paula Deen had long served as the spokeswoman for Smithfield hams, and even had her own brand of ham, but now they have sacked her over the racial slur scandal
Financial loss: Deen was dropped by Smithfield after the Food Network did not renew her contract