NEW YORK-J.C. Penney, Sears Holdings (parent of Sears and Kmart) and QVC have all discontinued Paula Deen-branded merchandise, in the wake of the controversy over racial slurs Deen admitted to using some time ago.
Brief statements from J.C. Penney and Sears Holdings representatives to HFN confirmed that the two retail companies have ended their relationships with Deen’s company, Paula Deen Enterprises. The Sears Holdings statement said, “We will continue to evaluate the situation. Our members’ needs will be given first priority as we work to continue to provide quality cookware in our stores and online.”
A letter to QVC customers included statements from both Deen and Mike George, QVC’s president and CEO. Deen said, “As you know, I have some important things to work on right now, both personally and professionally. And so we’ve agreed that it’s best for me to step back from QVC and focus on setting things right.”
George said that after discussions with Deen and her team, “we have decided to take a pause. Paula won’t be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and we will phase out her product assortment, on our online sales channels over the next few months.” For those who are wondering if this decision is permanent, he added, “We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances.”
A report from the Associated Press said Ballantine Books, Deen’s publisher, has canceled a deal for multiple books, including one that was originally scheduled for release in October. Titled “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up,” the book was to have been the first of a five-book deal announced last year.