(NEW YORK) — Paula Deen continued to lose corporate sponsors Friday after the celebrity chef admitted to using the n-word in the past. Sears, K-Mart and Walgreens have all dropped Deen’s products from their shelves.
Sears Holdings Corp., which owns and operates K-Mart as well, said in a statement to TMZ that the companies will “phase out all products” after “careful consideration of all available information.”
Similarly, Walgreens, which also owns regional drug store Duane Reade, told The Huffington Post that they also are “phasing out” Deen’s products.
Sears, K-Mart and Walgreens join Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk, Caesars Entertainment, and pork producer Smithfield in ending their relationships with Deen. The Food Network, Deen’s television home for 13 years, also decided not to renew Deen’s contract after her remarks.
In addition, Deen has written a letter to QVC customers, released publicly Thursday, in which she states that she and the network “agreed that it’s best for me to step back from QVC and focus on setting things right.”
A spokesperson for Random House, which is publishing Deen’s upcoming book Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, similarly told People magazine it is “monitoring the situation closely.” The book is due out in October.
Sticking by Deen, at least for now, is the publisher of her Cooking with Paula Deen magazine.
“Hoffman Media has worked closely with Ms. Deen since 2005,” said Eric Hoffman, executive vice president and CEO for Hoffman Media. “The recent images portrayed by the media do not reflect the person we know on a personal or a professional level.
“In the eight years that we have collaborated with Ms. Deen, we have witnessed her consistent generosity toward numerous charities, from hunger relief and battered women to a Savannah-based orphanage, to name a few,” Hoffman said. “Most recently, she launched The Bag Lady Foundation to empower women and families in their time of need.”
“We are aware of the hurt that has been generated in the media in recent weeks,” Hoffman said. “To be clear, Hoffman Media does not condone the use of offensive, discriminatory language or behavior. With that said, we feel that Ms. Deen’s apology for past indiscretions was heartfelt and genuine. Our partnership will move forward with greater sensitivity and understanding.”
The Deen controversy was sparked by her admission that she had used the n-word, which came to light during a legal proceeding after a former employee at one of Deen’s Savannah, Georgia restaurants filed a lawsuit claiming racial and sexual harassment by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, while she was working for them.
It seems the backlash has actually helped Deen’s book sales. On Thursday night, she occupied the top two spots on Amazon’s best-sellers list.
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN