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OTRC: Paula Deen dropped by Smithfield as ham spokesperson

Paula Deen has been dropped by Smithfield Foods as the company's spokesperson following the controversy surrounding her past use of racial slurs.

The announcement came on Monday, June 24, according to USA Today. Smithfield sold hams with Deen's name and likeness on the product in addition to Deen's role as the company's spokesperson.

In a statement to the news outlet, the company said, "Smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen. Smithfield is determined to be an ethical food industry leader and it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned."

Last week, the Food Network announced that it would not renew Deen's contract, which expires at the end of this month. According to The Associated Press, both QVC and Sears are currently reexamining their ties to Deen and her products.

"QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation," QVC said in a statement to the AP. "We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC."

Sears told the wire service it "is currently exploring next steps as they pertain to Ms. Deen's products."

It was revealed last week that the 66-year-old admitted in a court deposition that she had used the N-word in the past. Deen was commenting on the record to answer a $1.2 million racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against her and her brother by a former employee of their Savannah, Georgia, restaurant.

Deen was asked if she had ever used the racial slur and she admitted that she did and that it occurred "probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head."

She said she did not use it in front of the man, but rather while talking to her husband about the incident. Deen also said in the deposition that she had used the word since then, but that "it's been a very long time."

After the deposition came to light, Deen's company, Paula Deen Enterprises, released a statement on the matter saying that Deen "does not find acceptable the use of this term under any circumstance by anyone nor condone any form of racism or discrimination."

She was set to appear on NBC's "Today" show on Friday, June 21, but canceled her appearance due to exhaustion. That same day, three apology videos were posted on Deen's YouTube page (one of which was removed).

According to The Associated Press, Matt Lauer said early Monday that Deen would appear on the "Today" show on Wednesday, June 26.

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