Paula Deen Fired By Smithfield Foods After Admitting Use Of N-Word
Paula Deen was dropped from Smithfield Foods, a major sponsor, after her admission of using racial slurs last week.
Smithfield Foods released a statement explaining why they dropped Deen as a spokesperson. “Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind,” Keira Lombardo, Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, told CNN. “Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen. Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned.”
Deen signed on as a spokesperson for Smithfield Foods in September of 2006. The company sold a ham with her face and name on it.
Deen has connections with many other companies that are at stake as well. Target, Walmart, JC Penney, Kmart and QVC – a shopping channel – all sell cookware by Deen. Additionally, Random House Inc., a book publisher, is expected to release a book of hers in October. These companies have not released statements regarding the situation yet.
Harrah’s Hotels and Casinos feature Deen’s restaurant, Paula Deen’s Kitchen, in many of their locations. They have not dropped Deen yet, but have released a statement. “Paula Deen has acknowledged using a racial slur in the past. As a company with a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are deeply disturbed by what we are reading in the press and strongly object to any use of racial epithets. We will continue to monitor the situation."
After being dropped by Smithfield Foods, Deen shared a thank you with her supporters. “I want to send love and thanks for the kind words you have all shared with me and my family, and the support you've shown me this past week,” she tweeted Monday night.
Last week, in a lawsuit deposition filed by Lisa T. Jackson, a former general manager of one of Deen's restaurants in Georgia, Jackson sued for sexual and racial harassment while working for Deen and Bubba Hiers, Deen’s brother. The Food Network also announced Friday that they would not be renewing her contract at the end of July.