NEW YORK — Paula Deen’s media and merchandising empire is collapsing.
Sears, J.C. Penney and Walgreens said Friday that they’re cutting ties with Deen, adding to the growing list of companies severing their relationship after revelations that the Southern celebrity chef admitted using racial slurs in the past.
Meanwhile, 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 said 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 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.
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Ballantine, an imprint of Random House, said it decided to cancel the book’s publication after “careful consideration.”
Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, said it will phase out all products tied to the Paula Deen brand after “careful consideration of all available information.”
In an email, J.C. Penney said it, too, will stop selling Deen-branded products, and Walgreens said it was phasing out Deen-branded products, which include tortilla chips and soups.
QVC took a more gentle approach, saying Friday that it has decided to “take a pause” from Deen. The home-shopping network said that Deen won’t be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts, and it will phase out her product assortment on its online sales channels in the next few months. But QVC left the door open for Deen to return.
The developments are the latest blows dealt to Deen since comments she made in a court deposition became public.
Earlier this week, Wal-Mart Stores, Target and Home Depot all said they would stop selling cookware and other items with Deen’s brand.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Novo Nordisk said it and Deen have “mutually agreed to suspend our patient-education activities for now.” Deen had been promoting the company’s drug Victoza since last year, when she said she had Type 2 diabetes.
On Monday, pork producer Smithfield Foods dropped her as a spokeswoman.
Caesars Entertainment also said Deen’s name would be stripped from four buffet restaurants owned by the company.
Last week, the Food Network said it would not renew her contract.
Some stores were standing by Deen — for now. Kohl’s and Macy’s have not cut ties with her and Hoffman Media, publisher of “Cooking with Paula Deen” magazine, said it will continue publishing her bimonthly publication.