Smithfield drops Paula Deen as spokeswoman
FILE - This undated image released by Smithfield Foods shows celebrity chef Paula Deen wearing a Smithfield apron as she stands in front of various Smithfield meat products. On Monday, June 24, 2013, Smithfield Foods said it was dropping Deen as a spokeswoman. The announcement came days after the Food Network said it would not renew the celebrity cook's contract in the wake of revelations that she used racial slurs in the past. (AP Photo/Smithfield Foods via PRNewsFoto)
NEW YORK (AP) — Paula Deen lost another part of her empire on Monday: Smithfield Foods said it is dropping her as a spokeswoman.
The announcement came days after the Food Network said it would not renew the celebrity cook's contract in the wake of revelations that she used racial slurs in the past.
Smithfield sold Paula Deen-branded hams in addition to using her as a spokeswoman. In a statement, the company said it "condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen."
QVC also said it was reviewing its deal with Paula Deen Enterprises to sell the star's cookbooks and cookware.
"QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation," QVC said in a statement. "We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC."
FILE - This 2006 file photo originally released by the Food Network shows celebrity chef Paula Dean. Paula Deen’s fans are serving up deep-fried outrage to the Food Network for its decision to dump the Southern comfort food queen after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past. (AP Photo/ Food Network, file)
Several retailers, which sell Paula Deen cookware, were taking a wait-and-see approach.
Sears Holdings Corp. said it "is currently exploring next steps as they pertain to Ms. Deen's products." Target Corp. said it is "evaluating the situation." Meyer Corp., which produces the cookware under the Paula Deen brand, declined to comment.
Marty Brochstein, senior vice president of The Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, a trade group, said stores may have a tougher time determining whether to cut ties with Deen than Smithfield and the Food Network, where she has a public role.
"Once you take the wrapper off, her name isn't necessarily on every piece of merchandise," Brochstein said. "As a retailer or as a licensee, you have to evaluate. But you're probably not going to gain anything by overreacting."