As the amount of business partnerships with Paula Deen dwindle in number, QVC has added their name to the list of companies who can’t get away from the celebrity cook quick enough. The news that she also lost her lucrative 14 book publishing contract seems to indicate that she’s left alone on good ship Deen. With no television show, she doesn’t really need sponsors any longer so at least we don’t have those annoying, “And now for a word from our sponsor,” breaks, because there aren’t any.
Sure, some of the smaller companies are sticking by the 66 year-old Southern belle, but the big names have bailed and fast. The list of those who want a lot of space between their business and Ms Deen is a long one. Home Depot, Target, Walmart, the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Sears, Walgreens and Caesars Entertainment have all dropped Paula Deen like a hot racial rock. Novo Nordisk have also said, “You’all don’t come back now, hear?” While QVZ have been, at least, not too quick to get on the Paula Deen desertion train.
But now, QVC will make up the caboose of the train and pull out of the station, sans Deen.
The president and CEO of QVC, Mike George posted a blog note on the company’s website on Thursday. He shared his thoughts and the decision to “take a pause” from Ms Deen.
While he doesn’t say that the company is leaving Paula forever, he does state that they are going to take a “pause” from their strong relationship. One that apparently isn’t strong enough to weather this particular racial storm.
The blog reads, “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. We all think it’s important, at this moment, for Paula to concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and on her path forward.”
The blog does state that, “Some of you may wonder whether this is a ‘forever’decision – whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing.”
In this case the “right thing” appears to be distancing the company from all this very negative publicity.
But while Paula Deen has been vilified for saying that she had used the ‘N’ word in the past in a court deposition, she has had some who have stood up for her. But without her sponsors (or business partners) no one will watch Ms Deen on television. It’s the sponsor’s money that paves that road.
Besides her many fans, who’ve gotten on Facebook to tell the Food Network of their displeasure as well as tearing a strip off of WalMart, Deen has another champion in Bill Maher.
On Friday the liberal comic and show host had a pop at the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act. Maher stated that Justice Antonin Scalia was “more racist” than Paula Deen. He went on to quote Scalia saying it’s difficult to remove “racial entitlements” through the normal political process.
On his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, the Religulous star said, “Just the fact that he talks about black people voting as an entitlement, that is so much more racist than anything Paula Deen ever said.”
He went on to defend Deen’s recent flap over her use of the “N word” as a punishment that did not fit the crime. He said, “We have replaced having a conversation about race with ‘oh OK, liberals feel good about themselves if they make the bad person go away,’ Who’s the bad person? The one we caught saying that one word.”
He continued, “Donald Trump is a worse racist but he gets to keep his show because he never said the word. Sarah Palin is a worse racist, she said Obama was shucking and jiving his way to victory. Newt Gingrich said he was the food stamp president. This is real racism.”
Even former president Jimmy Carter has stood up for Deen. Talking to CNN, he said, “My heart goes out to her, but there’s no condoning the use of a word that abuses other people. I’ve known Paula Deen quite well for a long period of time. I advised her to let the dust settle and make apologies.”
Carter went on to suggest that some of the “oppressed and poverty-stricken” people that Deen has helped through programs in Savannah should speak out about her work in the community. He indicated that might be a way to show how “she has changed in her relationship with African-American people” over the years.
But no amount of cheerleading from the sidelines will help Paula Deen out of her current predicament. Without sponsors to pay for airtime, her television appearances are doomed. Without her publishing contracts, her cookbooks will never see the light of a kitchen. She still has her eatery in Georgia with its apparent loyal fan base of customers, but without the TV and book revenue, Ms Deen has been put into a new income bracket. In a word? Poorer.
By Michael Smith