More advertisers abandoned ship this week.
The Paula Deen racism scandal has been an enlightening experience for everyone in the loop, not to mention the cooking pro herself. Apparently racism is not only terrible on every moral level imaginable, it’s also really bad for business. Case in point: Deen’s endorsement deals with various retailers across the states. Since the Southern chef’s admission to using racial slurs on a number of occasions, retailers have been backing away from her like from a burning casserole. This past week Sears (and their daughter company K-mart,) J.C. Penney and Walgreens became the latest retailers to drop Paula’s brand like a hot potato on Friday. Some of the other companies on Paula’s list of corporate exes are Home Depo and diabetes drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk – a partnership, which didn’t seem to make much sense to begin with.
Deen has fewer reasons to smile these days.
Not even her tearful interview on the Today show – on which Deen appeared this Monday after cancelling in the last minute last week – could help the situation apparently. At this point the celebrity chef, who, according to Forbes, raked in $17 million dollars worth of endorsements, public appearances and sponsorships in 2012, stands to lose around $7.5 million from deals with the companies – and that’s just in endorsements and licensing deals, according to the New York Daily News.
About 7.5 million fewer.
Of course, the biggest hit has to be the loss of her spot on The Food Network’s talent roster. While the deal for Paula’s two shows (Paula’s Cooking and Paula’s Best Dishes, now both cancelled) hasn’t been the most profitable in terms of direct earnings, there’s nothing like exposure to boost the sales of branded merchandise. Of course, in the wake of the scandal, Deen probably has all the exposure she could ever need. Then again, there might be such a thing as bad publicity after all.
Advertisers are fleeing en masse.