Paula Deen Dropped by Caesars Entertainment, Walmart
The celebrity chef loses two more business partners hours after her “Today” interview.
Another two bite the dust.
Caesars Entertainment Corporations and Walmart have become the latest organizations to cut ties with former Food Network personality Paula Deen in the wake of a racial slur scandal.
Both groups made their announcements on Wednesday, just hours after Deen offered a tearful mea culpa in an interview with Matt Lauer on Today.
“While we appreciate Paula’s sincere apologies for statements she made in her past … 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 vp communications and government affairs at Caesars Entertainment.
Caesars currently operates four Deen-themed restaurants at its casinos nationwide: Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Harrah's Tunica in Mississippi, Harrah's Joliet in Illinois and Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina.
Walmart, meanwhile, put it simply: “We are ending our relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises and we will not place new orders beyond those already committed.”
While Deen has already been dropped by the Food Network and Smithfield Foods, which previously sold a ham with Deen’s name and face on the packaging, seven of Deen’s business partners have also voiced their support of the celebrity chef amid the critical firestorm.
"Her appearance on the Today show clearly proved her authentic belief that all people should be treated equal,” read a statement from Epicurean Butter, which produces Deen’s “Southern Grillin’ Butter.” “Paula is due equal treatment as well, as a person that made a mistake, apologized for it and should be allowed to move on. Actions speak louder than words, let's focus on the good that Paula Deen does for the extended community of loyal followers."
Deen remains embroiled in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former restaurant employee, but has vehemently dismissed charges of racism. In a recently unearthed deposition, Deen admits to having used the N-word in the past, but claims that she would never use the term today.
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