Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
Paula Deen's appearance on the Today show is being gobbled up and commented on more than any turkey dinner the celeb chef has fixed for a Thanksgiving holiday.
Branding experts have weighed in on how she did, with at least one saying she "bombed" with her "crocodile tears." And Twitter is filled with opinions, including that of Donald Trump, who came to her defense, saying: "Paula Deen made a big mistake in using a forbidden word but must be given some credit for admitting her mistake. She will be back!"
Soon after the teary interview aired this morning, Caesars Entertainment announced it was not renewing its "business relationship" with Deen and would rebrand four Paula Deen-themed restaurants in various locations.
The fallout seemed to be trending toward the negative.
Walmart Stores Inc. has just announced it is dropping Paula Deen, reports AP. The retailer, which has carried Deen-branded products since 2011, said it will not place "any new orders beyond what's already committed."
Deen's camp earlier Wednesday sent out two releases with letters of support from some nine different partners with whom Deen does business.
• Tasty Blends Foods of Frasiers Bottom, W.Va., said it was "very pleased" with the interview. The letter added, "We appreciate her commitment and how she stepped up and apologized to her viewers, fans and the nation. We personally endorse Paula Deen and what she stands for. We are very saddened that she is being judged by her past, everyone has made a mistake sometime in their lives. We look forward to our continued partnership with her."
• Landies Candies in Buffalo, N.Y., said in a letter to Paula that it admired her "honesty, strength, and most of all" who she is "as a person. ... We count it a privilege to be your friend and business partner and look forward to sweet success in the future."
• Springer Mountain Farms issued a letter of testament, saying it had worked with Deen for the past two years and found her to be a "compassionate, caring person. We have seen her with all types of people and have never seen any sign of prejudice. We truly believe her when she says she is sorry for any hurt she has caused." The company looks forward to continuing to work with her.
• Sandridge Food Co. in Medina, Ohio, says it is "proud to provide unwavering support to Paula Deen." The company letter says it looks forward to continuing to work with her.
• 450ID, a graphic design company in Philadelphia, said Deen's appearance and apology was "right on the mark."
• Carlo M. Gigliotti, director of operations for Harvest NA, a company in Wales, Mich., ended a lengthy letter with: "Paula, you have responded to an allegation and responded truthfully. With your honest answer you have done what is right in the (sight) of God. You know that this is right no matter what anyone else says or thinks. I am proud of you for that, the apology that followed and asking for forgiveness from the people. Continue in being truthful no matter what happens. I and my family still think of you with a special place in our hearts. All of your Family and Partners are in our prayers. We ask that the best that God has for you will come out of this situation and that you will know Him closer than ever before and that those offended will forgive you.
• IQ Craft, Epicurean Butter and Club Marketing Services all voiced support, too.