Paula Deen Drops Agent Amid N-Word Scandal

Embattled celebrity chef parts ways with man who reportedly helped her snag the Food Network gig that would make her a household name

By Alexis L. Loinaz Jul 05, 2013 1:59 PMTags
Paula Deen, Today ShowPeter Kramer/NBC

And the aftershocks continue.

Amid the seemingly unstoppable hemorrhaging in the wake of her N-word scandal, Paula Deen has announced that she is dumping her agent.

Per The Huffington Post, the embattled celebrity chef has severed ties with New York–based Barry Weiner, who'd been working with Deen for more than 10 years and had reportedly been an integral part in helping her land the Food Network gig that would eventually make her a household name.

"Paula Deen has separated from her agent," the 66-year-old's spokeswoman said Thursday in a statement. "She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years."

It's the latest twist in an increasingly cataclysmic debacle that saw the celeb chef's empire collapse, piece by piece, after news surfaced two weeks ago that Deen admitted in a video deposition that she had used the N-word and that she also reportedly told jokes that were considered racist.

The fallout has been sweeping.

In a snowball effect, Deen has since been dumped by a slew of business partners as one-time supporters swiftly distanced themselves from the beleaguered chef.

She's been dropped by the Food Network, JCPenney, Sears, Walgreens and Smithfield Foods. Walmart announced that it will "not place new orders" for her merchandise "beyond those already committed," while Target has decided to "phase out" her products.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which runs several Deen-themed restaurants at four of its properties, has severed its ties with the chef, and Novo Nordisk, a diabetes drug company that hired Deen as its spokeswoman, has put all of Deen's promotional commitments on hold.

Ballantine Books, which was set to release her upcoming cookbook Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, announced that it has canceled the title's publication, despite the book being No. 1 on Amazon's best-seller list.

Meanwhile, QVC posted a letter online stating that the company will be "taking a pause" with its relationship with Deen and that "Paula won't be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months."

On June 26, a contrite Deen offered up a tearful apology on the Today show, insisting that she was not a racist and exhorting "anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back" to "please pick up that stone and throw it at my head so hard it kills me."