National Company Drops Paula Deen
(CNN) — Paula Deen has been dropped by a major sponsor, Smithfield Foods, after it came to light last week that she admitted using a racial slur in a lawsuit deposition. The deposition was part of a suit filed by Lisa T. Jackson, a former general manager of one of Deen’s Georgia restaurants, for sexual and racial harassment while working for Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers.
The announcement comes as another harsh blow after Food Network announced on Friday that it will not be renewing its contract with the 66-year-old cooking personality Deen, who joined the network in 1999.
Keira Lombardo, the Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications of Smithfield Foods, released this statement to CNN:
“Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen. Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned.”
Deen became a spokesperson for Smithfield Foods, the country’s largest producer of pork products, in 2006.