Paula Deen has been dropped by another major sponsor, Smithfield Ham. A spokesperson for Smithfield Ham announced they would be releasing Deen from her contract. They said "Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behaviour of any kind".
Deen's other sponsors including QVC and Kmart have considered removing her products from their shelves following her remarks. The Food Network dismissed the Southern cook on which she had a Friday show. Deen has taken her dismissal well and has even thanked the network. Another company who use Deen as a spokesperson are pharmaceuticals Novo Nordisk who have decided not to take any action against her.
The cook admitted to using racial slurs in a harassment case against her by one of her former employees. Deen and her brother are accused of verbally abusing an employee and generally having an unacceptable attitude towards Black, Jewish and female employees. The incident has caused controversy as Deen admitted to using such language in the past.
Difficulties have incurred as many have pointed out remarks made in the past do not necessarily make Deen a racist. TMZ interviewed Reverand Al. Sharpton, a key figure in the Civil Rights movement, who said "A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago."
Deen's comments appear to be a throwback to the days of the American South in the 50's, where she grew up. As portrayed in the recent film The Help, some of the language used in everyday life at the time would be considered extremely offensive nowadays. Unfortunately for Deen, it's not the 1950's any more.
Watch the trailer for The Help:
Facebook groups and petitions asking for the cook to be returned to the Food Network have recieved huge responses, with thousands signing up to show their support.
Deen has attempted to repair the damage her testimony has caused. An interview she participated in in New York went horribly wrong however when she called in her Black security guard to point out her lack of prejudice. However she did comment, to the mirth of the audience, that the guard was 'as black as this board' and that 'We can't see you standing in front of that dark board!'
Generally the advice 'when you're in a hole - stop digging' is appropriate in these situations, however Deen has continued to bull-doze her way through every opportunity to remove herself from public scrutiny. Her family are supporting her however, even if her sponsors have condemned her to the slow and very public destruction of her career.
Paula Deen in L.A. prior to appearing on 'Extra'
It would be interesting to see what Emma Stone's character in The Help would make of Paula Deen's comments.