Home Depot, Wal-mart, Caesars Latest to Cut Ties With Paula Deen - NBC Chicago

Home Depot, Wal-mart, Caesars Latest to Cut Ties With Paula Deen

Three more high-profile businesses join the list of companies ending association with the controversy-mired cook



    C’mon, Chicago – Let’s Bring the Mini Picasso Home!
    Paula Deen

    In the tearful wake of Paula Deen's "Today" show appearance Wednesday morning, Caesars Entertainment Corporation released a statement saying that their relationship with the embattled celebrity chef has come to an end.

    Mere hours after that revelation Wal-mart, the world's largest retailer, announced it too would no longer continue to do business with Deen. Home Depot joined the exodus later that same day.

    "We are ending our relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises and we will not place new orders beyond those already committed," said Wal-mart spokesperson Danit Marquardt in a statement, adding that the retailer would "work with suppliers to address existing inventories and agreements."

    Wal-Mart has been carrying Paula Deen-branded products in all of its U.S. stores since 2011.

    Paula Deen Apologizes

    [NY] Paula Deen Apologizes
    Embattled Food Network star Paula Deen released a video statement addressing her past use of racial slurs, which overnight became a national scandal. In the clip, Deen appears visibly upset and at times close to tears. "I beg for your forgiveness.... please forgive me for the mistakes that I've made," she said.
    (Published Friday, June 21, 2013)

    Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for Home Depot confirmed to NBC News that the company will stop carrying Deen-branded items under their kitchen and cookware category as a result of the scandal.

    Caesars Entertainment, which operates Paula Deen-themed restaurants at four of its properties, was forthright in explaining their reasoning behind dropping the folksy Southern cook.

    "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 casino-entertainment company was the third business partner to sever ties with Deen, who professed to not being racist during the interview with Matt Lauer on "Today."

    The Food Network announced Friday that it would no longer host the self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking on its channel and on Monday Smithfield Foods, a pork goods company that produced a line of Deen-branded hams, followed suit by ending that partnership. 

    Deen has been under fire since a former manager of a Savannah, Ga., restaurant owned by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against the pair. The employee, Lisa Jackson, claimed she was sexually harassed by Hiers and that Deen used the N-word around her.

    Paula Deen's Second Apology

    [NY] Paula Deen's Second Apology
    In a 46-second video posted on YouTube, Paula Deen offered up an apology for using "inappropriate, hurtful language." In this second video, Deen apologized for failing to show up for a scheduled interview on "Today" Friday to discuss her admission that she's used racial slurs in the past.
    (Published Saturday, June 22, 2013)

    "Yes, of course," Deen said in the May 17 deposition of having used the slur, adding, "It's been a very long time."

    But she told Lauer Wednesday that she had only used the N-word once in reference to a robber who held a gun to her head.

    Other businesses who have partnerships with Deen including home shopping giant QVC, Sears Corporation and Random House have so far stuck by her, but have all released statements saying that they are monitoring the situation as it continues to unfold.