More companies are distancing themselves from Paula Deen following her admission to using racial slur in the past. J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings, the company behind Sears and Kmart, have all cut ties with the embattled celebrity chef.
Those retailers announced their decision in separate statements Friday, June 28. "We will continue to evaluate the situation. Our members' needs will be given first priority as we work to continue to provide quality cookware in our stores and online," Sears stated.
Deen also lost multiple-book deal with Ballantine, an imprint of Random House Inc., despite the fact that her upcoming book "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up" already became best seller on some purchasing websites.
The recipe collection was initially scheduled for October and was the first of a five-book deal announced early last year. A rep for Ballantine said they called off the deal after "careful consideration." No explanation was given beyond the brief statement.
Deen's literary agent, Janis Donnaud, confirmed that the deal indeed had been called off, but said they were optimistic they would get a new publisher. "I am confident that these books will be published and that we will have a new publisher," the agent said.
It's the latest hit in the controversy of Deen's N-word scandal. Earlier this week, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreen and Home Depot decided to stop selling Deen's products and merchandises. Home-shopping channel QVC also did the same but they did it more gently.
They were "taking a pause" from Deen so that she could "concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and her path forward." "Some of you wonder whether this is a 'forever' decision - whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don't think that's how relationships work. People deserve second chances," they added.
The first to severe their relationship with Deen after the N-word controversy was Food Network which aired her TV shows including "Paula's besh Dishes". Caesars Entertainment and Smithfield Foods followed next before pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk fired her as their brand ambassador for their diabetes drug Victoza.
The deals she recently lost one after another will undoubtedly affect her position on Forbes' highest-earning celebrity chef as they helped her pocket a cool $17 million last year. She sat on the fourth place on behind Gordon Ramsay, Rachael Ray and Wolfgang Puck in 2012.