QVC becomes the latest retailer to drop Paula Deen
By Jay Keller
QVC became the latest company to distance themselves from Paula Deen on Thursday in a decision to “take a pause” from the Southern celebrity chef in the wake of a scandal that revealed she used racial slurs in the past.
In a letter addressed to QVC customers published on the company blog, President and CEO Mike George addressed publicly customer feedback regarding the relationship with Deen in an attempt to address the “issue” rather than couch a response through an anonymous corporate statement.
“For now, we have decided to take a pause,” George wrote. “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.”
Paula Deen also issued an apology to customers in the QVC blog post, vowing to “work hard to earn [your] forgiveness.”
“As you know, I have some important things to work on right now, both personally and professionally,” Deen said in a “Letter from Paula Deen. “[W]e’ve agreed that it’s best for me to step back from QVC and focus on setting things right.”
Walmart also ended its relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises on Wednesday, a decision that will end the sale of merchandise in at least 4,000 U.S. stores that includes branded food items, cookware and other products.
“We will not place new orders beyond those already committed,” Walmart said in a statement published on its corporate website regarding Paula Deen Enterprises. “We will work with suppliers to address existing inventories and agreements.”
Deen’s business continues to take blow in the fallout with several companies and suppliers ending existing contracts or deciding to reevaluate the relationship.
The Food Network last week announced the decision to not renew Deen’s contract and Smithfield ended its relationship that included the comfort-food chef acting as a company spokesperson.
Additionally, Target Corp., another supplier of products bearing the Paula Deen brand, reiterated to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the company is “evaluating the situation.”
Deen appeared in a “Today” show interview on Wednesday to repeat that she’s not a racist and offer a tearful apology to the audience.
On Facebook, Deen published a post to thank followers for the “outpouring of support” and “kindness,” producing more than 500,000 likes and nearly 70,000 comment threads.