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Paula Deen axed as Smithfield spokeswoman, other promotion up in the air

By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   June 25, 2013 at 9:43 AM   |   Comments

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June 25 (UPI) -- The same week Paula Deen got dropped from the Food Network, she has lost another part of her cooking empire.

Smithfield Foods announced Monday that it was cutting Deen from her role as spokeswoman. Deen had held the role 16 years.

Smithfield has sold Paula Deen-branded hams alongside her television and print ads, but will eliminate the line of products after the chef was tied up in a scandal involving her use of racial slurs and stereotypes.

"Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind," the company said in a statement. "Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen."

QVC is also reviewing a deal with Paula Deen Enterprises to determine whether to retain Deen. The company has not yet made a decision on whether to keep the star, and will decide based on pending litigation.

Many retailers selling Paula Deen-branded cookware are waiting for case results and public reaction to Deen to decide whether to continue selling the goods. Sears, Kmart and Target are following the case and will reevaluate their decision to sell the cookware in the next few weeks.

The creators of her other products are waiting to see whether the public will forgive Deen for her statements. For now, cookbook publisher Random House is on course to release Deen's next cookbook "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes" in Fall 2013. Hoffman Media, the publisher of her magazine "Cooking with Paula Deen," said the company is "not in a position to discuss her magazine and contract right now."

Her 2014 "Paula Deen Cruise" is already in the works on the Royal Caribbean ship Mariner of the Seas, which sets sail in January. The cruise, still listed as part of the Royal Caribbean website, regrettably says that the dining options onboard will "satisfy the appetites of even the most discriminating of guests."

The cruise has been criticized in the past by Deen's own creative director Brandon Branch for being a "floating nursing home," as he plead for friends to "rescue him."

Only Deen's sons have directly stood up for her, saying that the allegations are false and that Deen is the victim of "character assassination."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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