Smithfield Goes Ham: Pork Company Drops Paula Deen As Spokesperson
The Food Network isn’t the only company that’s dropped Paula Deen. Smithfield Foods, producers of products like ham, bacon and sausage, has fired Deen as its spokesperson. The company issued a statement in which it said it, “Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen.” Smithfield is a $7.1 billion company, and sold Deen-branded hams in addition to her work as celebrity spokesperson. She’s been working with the company since 2006.
Deen has a number of other business relationships that are now being reviewed as well. The AP (via Yahoo) picks up a statement from QVC, which sells her cookbooks and cookware: “QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation. 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.” Target, Sears, Caesar’s Entertainment Corp, which houses Deen’s restaurants in some of its casinos, and the publisher Ballantine, which has a new Deen book on tap for later this year have issued similar statements. Meyer Corp, which makes the cookware that bears Deen’s name, hasn’t commented.
Matt Lauer announced yesterday that Deen will be appearing on the Today show tomorrow. She abruptly cancelled an appearance on Friday, but Lauer cited a tweet this morning from Deen in which she says she’s “glad” that her friends at the show are “bringing me back.” We’ll see how glad she is when the show is said and done. She also tweeted thanks for the love and support from fans and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The Rev. said, according to The Huffington Post, that Deen should be held responsible for things she’s done now and not in those done in the past. “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago,” he’s quoted saying. “I think she has a lawsuit now about activities now whether it was discriminatory… It’s not about her past. … She deserves what’s fair, but that’s based on what she’s engaged in now,” his quote continues. Rev. Al’s spokesperson was quick to clarify that he wasn’t defending her, but rather, she “should be judged by the present-day information being litigated in court.”