2 more partners drop Paula Deen
Target and Novo Nordisk sever ties with the celebrity chef, bringing the total number of major deals gone cold to 7.
The bad news keeps coming for Paula Deen.
Target (TGT) and Novo Nordisk (NONOF) are the latest companies to cut ties with the television chef in the controversy over racial slurs she has used in the past.
Now, seven high-profile corporate partners have either suspended or ended their relationships with Deen.
Target said it will phase out its cookware and other products that carry Deen's name, according to The Associated Press. And Novo Nordisk, which makes treatments for diabetes drugs, said it will suspend its activities with Deen for the time being.
Wednesday, Wal-Mart (WMT), Home Depot (HD) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) backed away from doing business with Deen. Wal-Mart and Home Depot said they would also phase out Deen-branded items, and Caesars said it would rename the four Paula Deen restaurants in its casinos.
One crisis manager estimated that the severed relationships could cost Deen tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship cash in the long run. "She will never be whole again," Howard Bragman, vice chairman of Reputation.com, told The Daily Ticker. "You just can't say it's a one-time hit of $3 (million) or $4 million dollars, I think it's much more than that. I think its tens of millions of dollars when you look at it over time."
Before the scandal hit, Deen had at least 17 licensing and endorsement gigs, The New York Times reported. Food Network and Smithfield Foods (SFD) have also terminated partnerships with the chef.
Deen has come under fire after the public learned of her comments in a discrimination lawsuit deposition. According to a transcript of her May 17 testimony, she said, "Yes, of course," when asked if she had ever used the N-word. She also said it was fine that her brother showed pornography to co-workers while at work and that she taught her children that it was fine to use the N-word in a joke.
Forbes has ranked Deen No. 4 on its list of top-earning celebrity chefs. She made $4.5 million in 2008, the magazine reported, and her income grew to an estimated $17 million last year.
Even Martha Stewart has weighed in on the controversy. "I feel sorry for Paula Deen," Stewart reportedly told television host Andy Cohen. "She's a public figure. And I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure."
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I think this is totally stupid! What ever happened to that case that started all this?
As an African American, I can say without a doubt, there isn't 1 adult that can say they didn't make a racial slur, intended or unintended, in their lifetime
I heard this in an article and I have to repeat it. "Political correctness is just tyranny with manners"
as all sharpton said this happen 30 year,s ago get over it and move on these company want
to keep the black shopper,s coming back that is the bottom line.
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