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Paula Deen has parted ways with the agent who helped her launch her media empire as the fallout continues from the celebrity chef’s admission that she previously used the N-word.
Deen had worked with New York agent Barry Weiner for more than a decade, and she said he was instrumental in getting her show Paula’s Home Cooking on the Food Network, according to The Associated Press.
“Paula Deen has separated from her agent,” Deen’s spokeswoman, Elana Weiss, said in an email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years.”
Deen, who has lost numerous business deals since news of her racist statement emerged, offered no reason for her parting with Weiner and didn’t blame him for her recent woes, saying simply “Paula wishes him well in all future endeavors.”
In the weeks following news that Deen had used the N-word, admitted under oath in a deposition, the Food Network declined to renew her contract when it expired at the end of June and pulled her shows from the air. She was also dropped by business partners, including Sears, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, The Home Depot and ham company Smithfield Foods. Her publisher Ballantine also canceled plans for her upcoming cookbook, even though advance purchases made it the No. 1 seller on Amazon.
In her book, Paula Deen: It Ain’t All About the Cookin’, she recalls meeting Weiner through TV producer Gordon Elliott and how they both thought she could be a star, the AP explains.
“Barry and Gordon felt like there was a show somewhere inside this Paula character that could be very successful,” Deen wrote. “They probably courted Food Network for two years trying to push me at them.”
Deen also wrote in her book, “Barry is affectionately known in my family as Barry Cuda. Perfect name for an agent.”
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