It has been a long, tumultuous couple of weeks for former Food Network star Paula Deen. The southern food aficionado started a country-wide controversy when she made racist remarks during one of her cooking shows.
This week, the fallout from those remarks continued as Deen has lost several of her endorsement deals. In addition, Caesars Entertainment has now pulled the plug on four Deen-operated buffet restaurants inside of Caesars branded casinos around the US.
The move by Caesars is the latest in what has become an ongoing business disaster for Deen. Although she went on The Today Show early Wednesday morning and gave a tearful apology for her words last week, the apology was not enough to save some of her biggest business ventures. Simthfield Foods had previously dropped their partnership with Deen, and Caesars made their move this afternoon.
“This is similar to what we saw with Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and various other big celebrities over the past decade,” said Analyst Brandon Birch. “Deen may recover from this and recreate her brand, but the public is not going to allow that to happen quickly. When you are dealing with moral issues, especially with regards to race, the public has become intolerant of ignorance, and Deen will now have to learn that the hard way.”
The buffet restaurants that will now be re-branded in the coming months include Harrah’s Tunica in Tennessee, Illinois’ Harrah’s Joliet, Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina, and the Horseshoe Southern Indiana. It is not yet known what brand will take the place of Deen’s buffets.
Deen had become a mainstay and one of the star attractions for The Food Network in her time on the air. Her southern drawl and recipes made her a fan of the heartland of America. The racial comments, which Deen claims were not racially motivated, put an end to her time at The Food Network and the backlash has continued throughout this week.