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Target Cuts Ties With Paula Deen

By: CBS News Email
By: CBS News Email

Associated Press Release

NEW YORK (AP) -- Target Corp. is announcing Thursday that it is ending its relationship with celebrity cook Paula Deen as fallout builds from revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.

The discounter, based in Minneapolis, said that it will phase out its Paula Deen-branded cookware and other items in its stores as well as on Target.com.

The company says that once the merchandise is sold out, it will not be replenishing the inventory.

The announcement comes as diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk says it and Deen have "mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now."

On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it was ending its relationship with Deen. Last week, the Food Network said that it would not renew Deen's contract.


CBS News Web Copy

The Food Network said Friday it's dumping Paula Deen, barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted a videotaped apology online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.

The 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed Deen told an attorney questioning her under oath last month that she has used the N-word. "Yes, of course," Deen said, though she added, "It's been a very long time."

The Food Network, which made Deen a star with "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2002 and later "Paula's Home Cooking" in 2008, weighed in with a terse statement Friday afternoon.

"Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," the statement said. Network representatives declined further comment.

The news came as Deen worked to repair the damage to her image.

In a video clip, posted Friday, the 66-year-old Food Network star said, "I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done. I want to learn and grow from this."

Earlier Friday, Deen was a no-show for a scheduled appearance on the "Today" show where she was expected to discuss the issue. She released a second video Friday afternoon explaining why she didn't appear on "Today."

"I was invited this morning to speak with Matt Lauer about a subject that has been very hurtful for a lot of people," Deen said. "And Matt, I have to say, I was physically unable this morning. The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others."

She added, "I want people to understand that my family and I -- we're not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are."

Court records show Deen sat down for a deposition May 17 in a discrimination lawsuit filed last year by a former employee who managed Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, a Savannah restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers. The ex-employee, Lisa Jackson, says she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs.

The transcript of Deen's questioned by an attorney for Jackson shows she was peppered with questions about her racial attitudes. At one point she's asked if she thinks jokes using the N-word are "mean." Deen says jokes often target minority groups and "I can't, myself, determine what offends another person."

Deen also acknowledges she briefly considered hiring all black waiters for her brother's 2007 wedding, an idea inspired by the staff at a restaurant she had visited with her husband. She insisted she quickly dismissed the idea.

But she also insisted in her legal deposition that she and her brother have no tolerance for bigotry.

"Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is" or what gender a person is, Deen said. "It's what's in your heart and in your head that matters to us."

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


CBS News Web Copy

June 19, 2013

A representative for Paula Deen says the celebrity chef "does not condone" racial epithets, following reports that Deen admitted to using "the N-word" and once planned a wedding reception with all black waiters.

Deen's admission of using the slur came while she was providing deposition as part of a $1.2M lawsuit filed against her and her brother Earl "Bubba" Biers by Lisa Jackson, the former manager of a Savannah, Ga., restaurant owned by the two siblings.

In the lawsuit (which can be viewed here), Jackson says she was constantly subjected to racist language at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House and claims to have been sexually harassed by Hiers. Jackson alleges that Hiers would frequently bring pornography to work and physically assaulted her on several occasions.

Jackson, who is described in the court papers as being a "caucasian, white female," goes on to claim that Deen approached her about organizing a "true Southern wedding" with an all-black waitstaff wearing white shirts and black pants. Deen is alleged to have said, "You know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around."

The lawsuit also states that black restaurant staff members are required to use only the rear restrooms at Uncle Bubba's, while only white staff members are permitted to use the customers' restrooms.

According to a transcript of the deposition, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, an attorney for Jackson asked Deen if she has ever used the N-word.

"Yes, of course," Deen replied, though she added: "It's been a very long time."

Asked to give an example, Deen recalled the time she worked as a bank teller in southwest Georgia in the 1980s and was held at gunpoint by a robber. The gunman was a black man, Deen told the attorney, and she thought she used the slur when talking about him after the holdup. "Probably in telling my husband," she said.

Deen also admitted that she planned a wedding with an all-black waitstaff, but never used "the N-word" when discussing such plans. She also admitted to telling jokes

"Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is," Deen said in her deposition. "It's what's in your heart and in your head that matters to us."

Deen's rep has since issued a statement to "Entertainment Tonight:" "Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court."

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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