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Sears, Penney sever ties with Paula Deen

  • In this publicity image released by NBC, celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show, wednesday, June 26, 2013 in New York. Deen dissolved into tears during a "Today" show interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past. The celebrity chef, who had backed out of a "Today" interview last Friday, said she was not a racist and was heartbroken by the controversy that began with her own deposition in a lawsuit. Deen has been dropped by the Food Network and as a celebrity endorser by Smithfield Foods. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)

NEW YORK — Paula Deen's media and merchandising empire is collapsing.

Sears, J.C. Penney and Walgreen said Friday that they're cutting ties with Deen, adding to the growing list of companies severing their relationship following revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.

Meanwhile, Deen's publisher has canceled a deal with her for multiple books, including an upcoming cookbook that was the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Ballantine Books said Friday it would not release "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up," which was scheduled for October and was the first of a five-book deal announced early last year. Interest in it had surged as Deen, who grew up in Albany, Ga., and specializes in Southern comfort food, came under increasing attack for acknowledging she had used the N-word.

Ballantine, an imprint of Random House Inc., said it decided to cancel the book's publication after "careful consideration." It had no comment beyond what was in its brief statement, spokesman Stuart Applebaum said.


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