Paula Deen’s media and merchandising empire is collapsing.
Sears, J.C. Penney and Walgreens said Friday that they’re cutting ties with Paula Deen, adding to the growing list of companies severing their relationship after revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.
Meanwhile, Paula Deen’s publisher has canceled a deal with her for multiple books, including an upcoming cookbook that was the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
Ballantine Books announced Friday it would not release “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up,” which was scheduled for October and was the first of a five-book deal announced early last year. Interest in it had surged as Deen, who grew up in Albany, Ga., and specializes in Southern comfort food, came under increasing attack for acknowledging she had used the N-word.
Sears Holdings Corp. said it will phase out all products tied to the brand after “careful consideration of all available information.”
“We will continue to evaluate the situation,” said the parent company of Sears and Kmart stores.
In an email statement to The Associated Press, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said it decided to discontinue selling Deen-branded products.
Walgreen Co. said it was phasing out Paula Deen-branded products, which included tortilla chips and a selection of soups.