Paula Deen has been dropped as an author by Random House subsidiary Ballantine Books even though her new book was already a best-seller based on Amazon pre-orders.
The upcoming cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up shot straight to the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s best-seller’s list even though it wasn't due to be released until October 15.
In a statement provided to People, the publisher asserted that "After careful consideration, Ballantine Books has made the difficult decision to cancel the publication of Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up."
Given the controversy surrounding Paula Deen, the publisher has decided against going forward with the book even though it was destined to be a best-seller, and it appears it have been pulled from the Amazon website, and presumably the online retailer is issuing refunds.
As part of this decision, Random House is pulling the plug on a five-year cookbook contract with Deen that was signed in 2012. According to an unnamed insider cited by the New York Times, "When Walmart, Target and J. C. Penney all announced they are discontinuing their Paula Deen business, including books, it is awfully tough to stay the course of a publication. It was a business decision."
Deen has been engulfed in a huge controversy as a result of a lawsuit filed by former employee Lisa Jackson who accused Deen and her brother of sexual harassment and using racial slurs while she worked as manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Ga. The revelations about Deen's use of racial slurs in the past emerged as a result of deposition transcripts in the case.
Deen presumably received a huge advance when originally inking the deal, so the enforceability of the contract becomes a matter of contract law interpretation. "It is unclear whether Ms. Deen will have to return any of [the money], or whether a clause in the contract would allow the publisher to cancel the pact because of Ms. Deen’s behavior."
The southern cooking diva's fall from grace has caused her to lose her gig with the Food Network as well as business deals with Smithfield Foods, Walmart, diabetes drugmaker Novo Nordisk, and many others in her former marketing/endorsement empire.
Are you surprised that Random House canceled Paula Deen's new book even though it already was a guaranteed best-seller?