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Thursday
Jun272013

Wal-Mart, Caesars Entertainment Drop Paula Deen

Dave Kotinsky/Getty ImagesBREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Target is the latest retailer to drop embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen, saying in a statement, “We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Target.com. Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory.”

(NEW YORK) -- Paula Deen appeared on TV Wednesday morning to assure fans that she is not a racist, but two more companies still decided to sever ties with the embattled TV chef.

Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment are the latest companies to drop Paula Deen after she admitted to using a racial slur in the past.  Previously, the Food Network announced that her contract would not be renewed, and Smithfield Foods, a pork producer who services Deen’s restaurants, followed suit a few days later.

“We are ending our relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises and we will not place new orders beyond those already committed,” a Wal-Mart spokesperson told ABC News.  “We will work with suppliers to address existing inventories and agreements.”

The world’s largest retailer began carrying Paula Deen-branded items in its U.S. stores in 2011.

Caesars Entertainment, which operates the celebrity chef’s restaurants in four locations, has also ended its relationship with Deen.  The company plans to re-brand those restaurants in the near future.

“While we appreciate Paula’s sincere apologies for statements she made in her past that she recently disclosed during a deposition given in response to a lawsuit, after thoughtful consideration of their impact, we have mutually decided that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways at this time,” a representative for Caesars Entertainment told ABC News Radio.

QVC told TMZ.com it was “closely monitoring these events and we are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen.  In the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”

A spokesperson for Random House, which is publishing Deen’s upcoming book, Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, similarly told People magazine it is “monitoring the situation closely.”  The book is scheduled to come out in October.

Deen clarified her usage of the N-word on TV Wednesday, denying that she ever used it outside of an instance when she was held at gunpoint.

“I is what I is, and I’m not changing,” she said between sobs.  “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me.  Please, I want to meet you.  I want to meet you.”

The controversy was sparked by a lawsuit filed by a former employee at Deen’s Savannah, Ga., restaurant, who claimed racial and sexual harassment by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, while working for them.

Deen’s attorney denied the claims, but in a suit-related deposition last month, Deen responded, “I’m sure I have,” when asked if she’d used the N-word since being robbed, adding, “but it’s been a very long time.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio