What's the going rate for the use of the N-word these days? Just ask Paula Deen — if she can manage to pull her foot out of her mouth long enough, she'll tell you that it's plenty.
Embattled celebrity chef Deen has watched her many-faceted empire crumble like a poorly constructed pie (not enough butter?) this week, as one business partner after another cuts ties with her, following her admission that she had used the N-word.
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But just how much of a bite has the blossoming scandal taken out of Deen's elaborate buffet of endorsements, product lines, personal appearance fees and other money-making endeavors?
According to Forbes, Deen raked in $17 million in 2012. But judging from the steady stream of defectors from the Deen camp, the 2013 tally won't be nearly so hefty.
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The Food Network, which severed ties with Deen last week, after she feebly attempted to save face with numerous apology videos published online, brought in an estimated $2.5 million for Deen annually — a fee that she won't be collecting after her current contract expires in June.
While that's the biggest single loss to Deen's coffers — so far — it's hardly the only one. Smithfield Foods, which carried a line of Paula Deen-branded hams, cut Deen loose this week. Deen's deal with Smithfield was worth an estimated $900,000 in 2010, and likely didn't go anywhere but up in the ensuing years, as Deen's empire spread like butter across an artery-clogging pile of biscuits.
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Then there's Deen's partnership with drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk, which makes the diabetes drug Victoza, which Deen promotes. Novo Nordisk hasn't officially separated from Deen — rather, it mutually agreed with Deen to "suspend our patient education activities for now." However, Deen's partnership with the company — which was struck amid no small amount of controversy last year — is reportedly a three-year deal worth $6 million. So, assuming that things go south for Deen on that front as well, take another $2 million chunk out of Deen's pie.
That's $5.5 million — nearly a third of the $17 million that Deen reportedly took in last year.
Also read: Paula Deen: 'I Beg For Your Forgiveness' For Using N-Word
And that's not including the impact that Walmart and Target's decisions to part ways with Deen will have. While those numbers are more difficult to quantify, losing a retail giant as a venue through which to flog her wares will most certainly have a financial impact on Deen.
Being generous and taking Deen at her word during Wednesday's "Today" interview that she only used the N-word once (a claim contradicted by Deen's previous tally), that's a pretty big contribution to the swear jar.