The mass corporate exodus from Team Paula Deen continued Thursday, with another two major companies cutting ties with the celebrity chef in the wake of the recent revelation of her past penchant of using the N-word and her subsequent awkward apologies.
Forbes reports that Home Depot announced it will stop selling Deen-branded cookware, while pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk confirmed they are putting their relationship with Deen on ice for now.* The companies join a number of others taking similar actions in the past week—including the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment. Target, Sears and QVC are said to be considering doing the same in the near future.
But while corporate sponsors may be scrambling to find a lifeboat on the S.S. Paula Deen, the Southern cook's fans are scrambling to get aboard. In the case of the annual Paula Deen Cruise, quite literally. Phyllis Loverdi, the vice president of the company that puts on the cruise, Alice Travel, had this to say to Eater on Tuesday:
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.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that was simply corporate bluster. But a quick trip over to Amazon's best-selling books list proves what may be unthinkable to anyone unfamiliar with Deen and her fans. Paula Deen's New Testament, a new cookbook that won't be out for another three-and-a-half months, now sits at the No. 1 spot among all books after entering the top 100 only four days ago. To put that in perspective, here are the books currently rounding out the top 5:
- 2. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
- 3. Joyland by Stephen King
- 4. A Song of Ice and Fire (Books 1-4) by George R. R. Martin
- 5. Inferno by Dan Brown
Her 2011 cookbook, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible, meanwhile, has climbed to No. 13 on the same list, and already sits at No. 1 on the online retailer's Cooking, Food & Wine Reference sub-list.
Elsewhere in Slate:
*This post has been updated to clarify that Novo Nordisk says its decision is only temporary. In a statement, the company said that it is "suspending our patient education activities for now, while [Deen] takes time to focus her attention where it is needed." It is not clear when—or if—the partnership will resume.