Despite her teary interview on Wednesday morning’s Today show, Paula Deen has been dropped by yet another two sponsors.
Walmart, Home Depot and Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced that they were ending affiliations with the celebrity chef just hours after she told Matt Lauer: ‘I is what I is and I’m not changing.’
Deen’s $18 million business empire has been unraveling since she become embroiled in a racial controversy after a former employee testified that she had heard Deen, 66, repeatedly use the N-word and talk of how she wanted to have a plantation-themed wedding for her brother with an all-black serving staff to emulate slaves.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it will not place ‘any new orders beyond what’s already committed.’
The discounter has carrying Paula Deen-branded products at all of its U.S. namesake stores since 2011.
Caesars has Deen-themed restaurants – Paula Deen’s Kitchen – in four of its casinos in Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and Mississippi.
‘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,’ said Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications and government affairs for Caesars Entertainment.
The four restaurants will be rebranded in the coming months, according to the statement.
Deen, who reportedly raked in about $18 million in revenue in 2012, has already lost contracts with the Food Network and with Smithfield Foods.
But ‘she isn’t upset about the loss of money,’ a source told PEOPLE. ‘She’s really upset about her reputation.’
On Wednesday morning Deen made a dramatic appearance on the Today show in a last-ditch attempt to save her career in the wake of her racism scandal.
The disgraced chef sobbed as she claimed ‘very hurtful lies’ had destroyed her reputation and insisted that she had only used the N-word once – something she deeply regretted.
She added that she believed she should not have been dropped as a representative for Food Network and Smithfield and that other partners ‘who know who I am’ have stood beside her.
‘I is what I is, and I’m not changing,’ she sobbed. ‘If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up a rock and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. I want to meet you.’
Deen appeared on the Today show less than a week after she cancelled an interview with host Matt Lauer which was scheduled for last Friday.
‘The main reason I am here today is that it’s important to me that I tell you and everyone out there what I believe and how I live my life,’ she began. ‘I believe that every creature on this earth was created equal.
‘I want people to know who I am and people that have worked beside me know what kind of person I am. I am so distressed that people I’ve never heard of are suddenly experts on who I am.
‘What you see is what you get. I’m not an actress. I’m heartbroken. I’ve had to hold friends in my arms as they’ve sobbed because they know what’s been sobbed about me that’s not true.’
She said that she had used a racist slur on one occasion in a stressful robbery situation, but said that ‘it was a world ago’ and something she regretted.