Paula Deen loses major sponsor - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Paula Deen loses major sponsor

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

One of Paula Deen's biggest sponsors -- Smithfield Foods -- dropped her Monday, three days after the Food Network cancelled her contract.

Deen's admission in a May deposition that she had used the "n-word" in the past has led to a national backlash.

Smithfield released this statement Monday, "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 determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned."

Deen has been a spokeswoman for Smithfield, the largest producer of pork products in the U.S., since 2006. She stood by the company in 2007 during fallout over Smithfield's attempt to block unionization efforts, sending protestors flocking to Deen's Lady and Sons restaurant.

Another sponsor, QVC, is reconsidering its relationship with the celebrity chef.

"QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation.  QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior.  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."

Also up in the air is Deen's relationship with Caesar's Entertainment Group. Paula Deen's Country buffet in that company's Harrah's casinos. Friday, Caesar's released a statement saying company officials were deeply disturbed by press reports and "continue to monitor the situation."

Monday, the company's director of corporate communications told a WTOC reporter, the company has not made a decision on the issue yet. 

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