Target cuts ties with Paula Deen; drugmaker distances

NEW YORK (AP) — Paula Deen's merchandise and media empire is fast unraveling.

Retailers Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc. and diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk became the latest companies to sever ties or distance themselves from celebrity cook Paula Deen as fallout builds from revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.

Target, based in Minneapolis, said today that it will phase out its Paula Deen-branded cookware and other items, which were sold on its website and in its stores.

"Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory," said Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman.

Home Depot, which sold Paula Deen-branded cookware and kitchen products only online, said it pulled the products off its website on Wednesday.

Diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk said today it and Deen have "mutually agreed to suspend our patient-education activities for now."

The developments are the latest blow to Deen's business.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Wednesday that it's also cutting ties with Deen. The world's largest retailer currently carries a variety of products under her moniker, including food items, cookware and health and wellness products, at all of its 4,000 U.S. namesake stores.

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