A teary interview on “Today” wasn’t enough to prevent celebrity chef Paula Deen’s empire from crumbling more Wednesday as the fallout continues over her admission that she used a racial slur in the past.
Deen’s name is being stripped from four buffet restaurants owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp. in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; Cherokee, N.C.; and Elizabeth, Ind.
Meanwhile, the celebrity chef’s representatives distributed four letters supporting Deen from other companies that work with her.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also announced Wednesday that it has ended its relationship with Deen.
The world’s largest retailer said it will not place “any new orders beyond what’s already committed.”
Deen dissolved into tears during a “Today” show interview Wednesday morning about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past, saying anyone in the audience who’s never said anything they’ve regretted should pick up a rock and throw it at her head.
The celebrity chef, who had backed out of a “Today” interview last Friday, said she wasn’t 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.
Deen told Lauer she could only recall using the N-word once.
– Associated Press