Paula Deen drops longtime agent

July 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM
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NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- Paula Deen's publicist confirmed the Georgia-born celebrity chef has fired her longtime agent after Deen found herself the focus of a racism scandal.

People.com said Deen worked with New York agent Barry Weiner for more than a decade.

She has publicly credited him with helping her start her show "Paula's Home Cooking" on the Food Network in 2002.

"Paula Deen has separated from her agent," Deen spokeswoman Elana Weiss told People.com in an email Thursday. "She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years. Paula wishes him well in all future endeavors."

No reason was specified for the split; however, it was announced after Deen's Food Network show was canceled and most of her endorsement deals fell through.

Deen, 66, admitted in a May deposition for a lawsuit she had used the N-word in the past. That comment, and her description of a so-called plantation-style wedding she would like to see, sparked a media firestorm.

Deen later insisted she is not a racist and said she only used the N-word to describe the black man who stuck a gun in her face while robbing the bank where she worked in 1987.

J.C. Penney, Walgreens, Sears and Kmart subsequently said they are moving away from their business relationship with Deen and the cable shopping channel QVC said it would "take a pause" in its dealings with her.

The Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Home Depot and casino giant Caesar's Entertainment previously have said they would end their partnerships with Deen, who maintains partnerships with Alice Travel, Ladies Candies, Hoffman Media, Random House, Metropolitan Cooking Expo, Springer Mountain Farms and Epicurean Butter.

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