At which point does a sponsorship meltdown become epic? Because we’re pretty close to calling the avalanche of dropped deals for Paula Deen branded merchandise epic right about now: Ballantine Books announced it’s canceling the publication of Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up. It was to be a healthy rehashing of Deen’s recipes. That brings the total killed deals to 12.
Despite already being the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com based entirely on pre-orders a full three months before its scheduled publication in October, the cookbook has been chucked by Ballantine, reports the Associated Press. It was to be the first of a five-book deal.
Ballantine said Friday it decided to cancel the book after “careful consideration.” And that’s about it.
Deen’s literary agent also weighed in and seemed optimistic about the book’s future: ”I am confident that these books will be published and that we will have a new publisher,” she said.
Here’s the full list of who’s out at the moment:
1. Food Network
QVC — Note: A spokesman says that while the products are on pause for now, but: “Some of you wonder whether this is a ‘forever’ decision — whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances.”
3. Sears as well as its property 4. Kmart
6. Smithfield Foods
7. Caesar’s Entertainment
8. Home Depot
9. Novo Nordisk
Here’s who’s still in/unclear:
1. Hoffman Media — Cooking With Paula Deen magazine.
Statement: “We are not in a position to discuss her magazine and contract right now. A statement will be forthcoming later…We at Hoffman Media do not condone discrimination of any kind.”
2. Universal Furniture — Paula Deen Home line of furnishings.
Statement: “As you know, the hype around this matter has many people rushing to judgment as well as many others rushing to Paula’s defense. We believe it is only fair to you, our dealer, our company and frankly Paula herself to let the facts play out before taking any action. We have had several conversations with Paula and her team over the weekend…Discrimination of any sort is contrary to both our personal and our corporate philosophy. Our company is in fact full of diversity and we are richer for it.”
3. Springer Mountain Farms — chicken meat.
The word: “We support Paula Deen. We have worked closely with her for the last two years and know her to be a compassionate, caring person. We have seen her with all types of people and have never seen any sign of prejudice. We truly believe her when she says she is sorry for any hurt feeling she has caused. We are very pleased with the interview Paula Deen gave this morning offering her apologies and reaffirming her personal commitment to equality and fairness for all. As an organization we believe that she and her team are on the right track and we look forward to continuing to work together.”
4. Alice Travel — cruise event.
The word: “Due to the amazing response we’ve had in the past years from Paula’s fans, we are actually planning 2 Paula Deen Cruises for 2014. In the 5 years that I have been working with Paula and her staff it has been an amazing journey. I listen to so many people telling Paula their stories of how she inspired them when they were going through bad times. I had the same experience, so I understand. If Paula goes, we go with her and from what we are hearing, so are her fans.”
5. Metro Cooking Show Dallas
The word: “Paula Deen has been a friend of The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show for many years. She has apologized and we are taking her apology at her word and moving forward accordingly. The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show does not condone or believe in the use of derogatory slurs by anyone. This is a nation of forgiveness and second chances. In that spirit we intend to go forward with the MetroCooking Shows in Houston, Dallas and Washington, DC as planned with Paula as a presenter. At this time we have no plans to do otherwise.”
6. New York City Wine and Food Festival — Paula Deen Classic Comfort Brunch
The word: “Paula and her family are longtime supporters of our Festivals, and this is an unfortunate situation.” Also, “Our run of show has not changed since it was announced on May 15th.”
It’s worth noting also that a local furniture company has pulled the TV ads she appeared in, so we’ll put them on the Maybe list.