Paula Deen’s alleged use of racial slurs have gotten her booted from the Food Network and her products tossed out of Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot, but it looks as though she may still has QVC to eventually fall back on.
The Pennsylvania-based TV and online retailer posted a letter on its website Thursday to tell customers that it was troubled by allegations against Deen, who is in the middle of a workplace discrimination lawsuit, and had made the decision to suspend her from its air and online sales channels — but only temporarily.
“Some of you may wonder whether this is a ‘forever’ decision – whether we are simply ending our association with Paula,” the company’s President and CEO, Mike George, wrote. “We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing.”
QVC, which takes in some $8 billion per year, isn’t driven by ratings, but by sales. It caters to niche markets, skewing white, female and wealthy, the sort of demographics that make Deen one of its hottest sellers. Currently, its website has has three pages of Deen-branded items for sale.
Deen also has a strong relationship with David Venable, QVC’s most popular food host. His show, In the Kitchen With David has a fervent fan base, and Deen wrote the introduction to his hit cookbook last fall.
Her fans have flocked to her defense, too, including a cruise she will host in January 2014.
Deen has worked to defend herself on television, notably during a teary appearance on the Today Show.