Paula Deen's business shaken by controversy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Paula Deen's southern cooking empire continued to unravel Thursday.

Home improvement giant Home Depot, and retailer Target have decided to end their deals with Deen while drugmaker Novo Nordisk has suspended it's relationship with her.

Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500), which until now had been selling Paula Deen branded kitchen and cookware said that it was no longer selling her products online. Target (TGT, Fortune 500) said it would discontinue her branded products too. "We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory," said spokeswoman Molly Snyder.

Paula Deen, who is famous for her fondness of butter and other unhealthy foods, has been mired in controversy before. Last year after months of rumors, she admitted to have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and that she'd be the spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk's "Diabetes in a New Light" educational campaign. Novo Nordisk manufactures Victoza - an injectable, non-insulin drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

That relationship was suspended Thursday.

"Novo Nordisk and Paula Deen have mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now, while she takes time to focus her attention where it is needed," the company said.

The news comes a day after Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced they would end their relationships with Deen amid the growing controversy.

Related: Orders for Paula Deen cookbook surge

Deen's latest troubles began almost two weeks ago when a deposition in a discrimination lawsuit was released in which she admitted using the n-word in the past. Dean has insisted she does not tolerate prejudice, but her apologies have failed to suppress the controversy.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), which sold Paula Deen branded baked goods, cookware, dishware and kitchen appliances and Caesars (CZR, Fortune 500), which operated Paula Deen-themed restaurants at four of its casinos cut Deen loose on Wednesday.

Pork producer Smithfield Foods, with a line of Deen-branded hams, dropped her as a spokeswoman on Monday. Last week the Food Network said it wouldn't renew Deen's contract when it expires at the end of the month.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said that Novo Nordisk had ended its relationship with Paula Deen. The company says it has suspended its relationship with the chef.


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