Companies Say N-O to Paula Deen's Use of the N-Word

By Manuel McDonnell Smith

*This story has been updated on 6/28/13 (11 a.m. ET) to reflect the additional companies that have ended their business relationships with Paula Deen since this article was originally published.

As fallout continues over celebrity chef Paula Deen’s use of the N-word, some of her business partners are using their own N-word to describe their ongoing relationship with her: no. Here’s a roundup of what companies have had to say regarding their business dealings with Deen:

Smithfield Foods, which carries a line of hams bearing Deen’s name:

“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.”

QVC, which features Deen-branded products on its home-shopping network:

“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.”

Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of Food Network, has not made additional comment regarding its relationship with Deen after announcing last Friday that the company would not renew her contract when it expires at the end of this monthdespite a flood of comments on the network’s Facebook page from fans of her show expressing disapproval over the network’s dismissal of the popular host.

On Wednesday, big-box retailer Walmart, which carries a line of Deen-branded products, announced, “We are ending our relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises and we will not place new orders beyond those already committed.”

Likewise, home improvement chain Home Depot announced on Wednesday that they are severing business ties with Deen and her companies.

Earlier in the day, Caesars Entertainment disclosed that the company and Deen had “mutually decided” not to renew their business relationship. Caesars operates Paula Deen Buffets in four of its casinos.

Target joined their fellow retailers on Thursday, telling DiversityInc: “We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory.”

After earlier standing behind Deen, pharmaceutical companyNovo Nordisk had a change of heart Thursday (for now, at least), announcing that they’ve “mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now.” (On Tuesday, Novo Nordisk told DiversityInc, in a statement: “Paula Deen is still a product spokesperson for the Victoza brand. We recognize the seriousness of these allegations and will follow the legal proceedings closely, staying in contact with her. As a company committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes, Novo Nordisk engaged Deen as a spokeswoman because of her commitment to increasing awareness about diabetes to millions of people in this country. We do not condone racial intolerance of any kind and have spoken to Paula about her comments in the deposition. While she takes a more proactive approach to clearing up her comments, our focus will continue to be to provide the best care possible to all of our patients where we work and live.Diversity and inclusion are part of who we are. We embrace different perspectives and ways of thinking to help us best serve our patients.”)

On Friday, Sears Holdings (which owns Kmart, which carries a line of Deen-branded housewars), completed its review of its relationship with Deen and announced: “After careful consideration of all available information, we have made the decision to phase out all products tied to the brand. We will continue to evaluate the situation. Our members’ needs will be given first priority as we work to continue to provide quality cookware in our stores and online.”

Latest News

Abraham Lincoln High School

San Francisco School Board Forced to Abandon Controversial Plan to Rename Schools Honoring Historic Figures

The San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education drew nationwide attention earlier this year over its announcement to change the name of 44 schools “named after figures with disputed historical relevance.” And now, following widespread public condemnation and a vote of members, the board has decided it will no…

Park Cannon

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Park Cannon, Georgia Representative Arrested For Protesting State’s New Racist Voter Restriction Laws

Reaction to Georgia’s restrictive and anti-Black voter disenfranchisement policies continues to stir up controversy. Major League Baseball pulled their wildly popular 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta and moved it to Denver to show their disappointment with the decision. Georgia-based companies like Delta and Coca-Cola have also announced their disapproval of…

Dow Receives Five 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Awards

Originally published at Dow ranked No. 22 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Dow has been recognized with five Manufacturing Leadership Awards by the Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers. The awards are given to individuals and projects…

Dow Wins With Product Performance and Sustainability at the Leading 2021 Ringier Technology Innovation Awards

Originally published at Dow ranked No. 22 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Dow clinched two notable product wins for superior performance and wide application at the 2021 Ringier Technology Innovation Awards in the Plastics Raw Materials & Additives category: Dow’s Post-Consumer Recycled…

BASF Presents Roadmap to Climate Neutrality

Originally published at BASF ranked No. 14 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   BASF is setting itself even more ambitious goals on its journey to climate neutrality and wants to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Based on the most recent progress in developing…