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Publisher scraps Paula Deen's top-selling cookbook before release

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An upcoming book of recipes by disgraced celebrity chef Paula Deen that shot to the top of online bookseller Amazon's best-sellers list has been canceled, the publisher said on Friday, adding to the fallout from Deen's use of a racial slur.

"After careful consideration, Ballantine Books has made the difficult decision to cancel the publication, 'Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up,'" the publisher said in a statement.

Ballantine declined to elaborate on its decision to scrap the book by Deen, considered the queen of Southern cooking.

Orders of the book, which was scheduled for an October release, will not be fulfilled, the imprint of Bertelsmann SE's Random House said, adding that the cookbook of lighter Southern cuisine had not gone to press.

Deen, 66, who had a multimillion-dollar enterprise built on books, restaurants, television shows and housewares, has lost about a dozen business deals after a deposition surfaced last week in which the TV chef admitted to using the "N-word."

The controversy pushed pre-order sales of her forthcoming cookbook to the top of Amazon's best-sellers list and copies of 2011's "Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible," which was published by CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, is No. 2 on the list.

"Paula Deen's New Testament" was going to be the first book in a two-book deal with Ballantine.

Pharmacy chain Walgreens, department store JC Penney and Sears Holdings Corp, which owns department store Sears and discount retailer Kmart, all said on Friday they planned to discontinue Deen's product lines.

Scripps Networks Interactive Inc's cable TV channel the Food Network, which aired Deen's cooking shows, was the first to drop Deen last week.

A number of companies have severed ties with the chef, including Caesars Entertainment Corp, which operated Deen-branded restaurants; retailers Target Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc; and Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk A/S, which used Deen as a pitchwoman.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Eric Beech)

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