Paula Deen, the mythic high-cholesterol country chef who touted high-fat content the way De Beers touts diamonds, has eaten just about everything on her TV show; but now, she no doubt just wishes she could eat her words. The freefalling down-spiral from disclosing a 30-year-old racial slur spoken during a past lawsuit brought by a former employee continues, as Caesars Entertainment becomes the latest in a slew of business partners to drop Deen from their rosters like a boiling-hot corn fritter.
The announcement came last week, with Caesars saying they had reached a “mutual agreement” with Paula Deen Enterprises to not renew their business partnership when it comes due. Companies have been severing ties with Deen since her debacle began in rapid succession; Deen’s alliances with Caesars include four “themed” restaurants bearing her stamp at their Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Harrah’s Tunica (Mississippi), Harrah’s Cherokee (North Carolina), and Harrah’s Joliet in Illinois.
Caesars says they will be rebranding the eateries once the contracts run out; Deen probably feels like she has been branded enough to last a lifetime now.
Walking the Plank
Despite endless public “mea culpas” – including a homey self-shot video in which Deen appears to weep for the anguish she says she has caused by her actions – she has been unable to remove the tarnish from her now-tainted reputation, and seems to be putting up little fight to the domino-effect of businesses bailing on her one after another.
Caesars has issued the predictably non-inflammatory comment to explain their latest severing. “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 Caesars executive vice-president of communications and government affairs Jan Jones Blackhurst.
Despite the cut from Caesars and many others, not everyone has decided to jump ship from Deen’s business alliances. Companies including Alice Travel, Landies Candies, Hoffman Media, the Metropolitan Cooking Expo, poultry producer Springer Mountain Farms, and Epicurean Butter have all maintained their allegiances, so far, at least.
And Deen shouldn’t give up hope; nothing Americans love more than a tale of falls from grace followed by redemption. At least, if Martha Stewart and dog-fighting breeder, torturer and killer Michael Vick are any example.