Not Dropped Here
By now everyone's heard of Paula Deen's graceless descent from frying pan to fire: The lawsuit filed by restaurant manager Lisa T. Jackson against Deen and brother Bubba over allegations of sexual and racial harassment, Deen's admission in her testimony that she has used the N-word (no, not "nutrition") and worse, her three clumsy apology videos (1, 2, 3) and now the pushback from the sponsors who helped the butterphilic megastar chef build a $16 million empire.
The Food Network is not renewing Deen's contract, and pork company Smithfield Foods dropped the chef as its primary ham endorser.
QVC is wavering on whether it wants to continue giving Deen airtime, and there has been no official word on the status of her cookware lines at Walmart, JC Penney, Kmart, Sears and Target. Random House is still slated to publish her newest cookbook, Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up. The Alabama publisher of her magazine Cooking with Paula Dean is still "evaluating" the situation, and the same goes for Caesar's Entertainment Corporation in Las Vegas, which runs Deen's casino restaurants.
Paula Dean's cruise line has actually added more Paula cruises, but in a case of poorly timed word choice, the company that manages it boasts of "luxury land and sea travel for the most discriminating individuals and groups."
Two other companies are unequivocally and outspokenly standing by Deen's side. One is Novo Nodisk, a diabetes medication manufacturer that is no stranger to Deen-centered controversy. She became the company's spokesperson in 2012 when she revealed her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis to the public amid accusations of opportunism.
The second company sticking with Deen? The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show, which holds one of its major events in Houston and counts The Houston Chronicle as its most recent presenting sponsor and longtime advocate. The show defends standing by its woman in a statement on its website:
Paula Deen has been a friend of the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show for many years. She has apologized and we are taking her apology at her word and moving forward accordingly. The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show does not condone or believe in the use of derogatory slurs by anyone. We abhor the words of hostility and hatred. This is a nation of forgiveness and second chances. In that spirit we intend to go forward with the MetroCooking Shows in Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. as planned with Paula as a presenter. At this time we have no plans to do otherwise.
The Houston show featuring Deen will be September 14 at Reliant Park.
Deen is scheduled to appear on the Today Show Wednesday morning, but it's hard to say what will happen for sure after she canceled an appearance last week. The 66-year-old is clearly under a lot of pressure, especially now that the story has taken on a life of its own. Tongue-in-cheek tweets with the hashtag #PaulasBestDishes have been trending, making light of some pretty serious racial allegations.
On top of that, a 2012 New York Times interview has resurfaced in which Deen makes some questionable comments about race and her experience growing up in the South.