The queen of Southern comfort food has officially been thrown off her throne, after 11 companies have ended partnerships with Paula Deen amid the controversy surrounding her. The latest, and perhaps most shocking, is Ballantine Books, publisher of her upcoming cookbook, “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up.”
In a brief statement Friday afternoon, Ballantine announced it was canceling its multibook deal with Deen, including publication of her upcoming cookbook, which was scheduled for release in October 2013. The news comes as a surprise, as the book was pushed to No. 1 on Amazon after a surge of pre-orders from fans.
Walgreens said it was phasing out Deen’s products and J.C. Penney, which gave no formal statement, confirmed to NBC News Friday that it would no longer carry Deen-branded merchandise. Sears Holdings announced Friday morning that it would “phase out all products tied to the [Paula Deen] brand. Our members’ needs will be given first priority as we work to continue to provide quality cookware in our stores and online.”
The Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Caesars Entertainment, Novo Nordisk, Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot, all of which comprised the majority of her empire, also terminated their partnerships with Deen, who appeared in her first live interview on TODAY Wednesday to discuss the scandal over her use of racial slurs.
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