Casino company that hosted Paula Deen-themed restaurants is the latest business partner to bail over racial-slur controversy
Celebrity chef Paula Deen has suffered another blow after admitting that she used a racial slur.
Caesars Entertainment, which operates Paula Deen-themed restaurants in four of its properties, including Harrah's Casino locations, has ended its relationship with the former Food Network star.
In a statement, Caesars said that it "reached a mutual agreement with Paula Deen Enterprises" not to renew the business relationship. Caesars will re-brand the restaurants in the coming months.
"While we appreciate Paula's sincere apologies for statements she made in her past that she recently disclosed during a deposition given in response to a lawsuit, after thoughtful consideration of their impact, we have mutually decided that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways at this time," said Jan Jones Blackhurst, Caesars Entertainment executive VP of communications and government affairs.
The parting of ways with Caesars is the latest hit taken by Deen's financial empire, which began to crumble after it was revealed last week that she admitted in a deposition that she had used the N-word in the past. Deen was dropped by the Food Network on Friday — the same day that she published multiple, less-than-effective apology videos online.
On Monday, Smithfield Foods also parted ways with Deen, saying, "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."
Deen is being sued by a former employee at Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, which is part-owned by the celebrity chef. The employee claims that Deen's brother, Earl W. "Bubba" Hiers created a sexually and racially hostile work environment, and that Deen failed to prevent it.
In her latest attempt to salvage her reputation, Deen appeared on NBC's "Today" this morning, which she had been due to appear on last week but canceled amid the growing controversy. The appearance seems to have done more harm than good, however, as the celebrity chef contradicted her statements in the deposition, saying that she had used the racial slur only once in her life.