Paula Deen Partners Weighing How to Proceed

Paula Deen

Paula Deen

NEW YORK–Home furnishings manufacturers with licensed Paula Deen products are taking a wait-and-see approach regarding their partnership with the celebrity chef, who has come under fire for racist remarks she publicly admitted making.

Meyer Corporation, which makes Paula Deen-branded cookware, bakeware and tabletop; Universal Furniture, which manufactures the Paula Deen Home collection; and Sleep Innovations, which manufactures Paula Deen anti-fatigue kitchen mats, said they have not yet determined how they will proceed.

Food Network promptly dropped Deen last Friday after Deen admitted to using racist slurs in the past and to considering a plantation-themed wedding for her brother. Smithfield Foods followed suit on Monday. Earlier today, Caesar’s Entertainment announced that it was cutting ties with Deen, who has four restaurants in Caesar’s properties.

Deen, who was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the “Today” show this morning, said she was grateful for the partners who have thus far stuck by her.

“Our executive team is monitoring and accessing the Paula Deen situation, which continues to develop,” Meyer said through a spokeswoman. The company, which has carried Deen’s cookware since 2008 and tabletop since 2011, said it will have further comment soon.

Sharon Miller, director of marketing and communications for Sleep Innovations, said, “We are waiting for the dust to settle a bit and see how our retail partners react. Once we have a better understanding of our retailer’s opinions, how Paula handles the situation and what her other partners do—that will decide a lot for us.”

Universal Furniture has offered the Paula Deen Home collection since 2009. Universal President and CEO Jeff Scheffer sent a letter to its dealers saying that “the hype around this matter has many people rushing to judgment as well as many others rushing to Paula’s defense. We believe it is only fair to you our dealer, our company and frankly Paula herself to let the facts play out before taking any action.”