Paula Deen's publisher has canceled a deal with her for multiple
books, including an upcoming cookbook that was the No. 1 seller on
Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com, following her admission she used a
Ballantine Books announced Friday it would not
release "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened
Up," which was scheduled for October and was the first of a five-book
deal announced early last year. Interest in it had surged as Deen, who
grew up in Albany, Ga., and specializes in Southern comfort food, came
under increasing attack for acknowledging she had used the N-word.
Ballantine, an imprint of Random House Inc., said
it had decided to cancel the book's publication after "careful
consideration." It had no comment beyond what was in its brief
statement, spokesman Stuart Applebaum said.
Later Friday, Deen's literary agent, Janis Donnaud, said that the entire deal had been called off.
"I am confident that these books will be published
and that we will have a new publisher," said Donnaud, who declined to
comment on whether she had heard from other publishers.
The trouble for Deen started when comments she made
in a court deposition became public. During the deposition in a
discrimination lawsuit filed by an ex-employee, Deen admitted using the
N-word in the past but denied using it to describe waiters.
Deen said she's not a racist during a tearful
"Today" show interview but has lost many of her business relationships.
Sears Holdings Corp. and J.C. Penney Co. said Friday that they were
cutting ties with Deen following similar announcements from Wal-Mart
Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Home Depot.
Last week, the Food Network said that it would not
renew her contract. She also was dropped by Smithfield Foods, Caesars
Entertainment stripped her name from restaurants and drug company Novo
Nordisk said it was suspending its work with her.
Publishers have pulled a wide range of books over
the years, usually because of plagiarism, fabrications or other issues
with the books themselves. Ballantine's decision highlights a problem
for Deen even when the product itself has not been challenged and is in
Some outlets that might have sold her books, such
as Target and Wal-Mart, have cut ties with her. Other stores likely
would have been reluctant to promote her new book or to invite her for
Because "Paula Deen's New Testament" was months
away from release, no copies had been printed. All purchases had been
pre-orders, so refunds aren't necessary.
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