UNDATED (CBS) - More hot water for celebrity chef Paula Deen, as sponsors say they're either parting ways with her or re-thinking their options. The news comes after she admitted to saying racial slurs in the past.
Her startling admissions came during a deposition in a lawsuit filed against her by a former employee. After they surfaced, the Food Network said it was cutting ties with Paula Deen, and now the question her fans and her advertisers are asking is: Who's next?
For Paula Deen, it's out of the frying pan and into the fire. The Food Network launched her into super stardom in 1999. So when it dumps Deen at the end of the month, the linchpin of her culinary empire will also disappear. David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision says, "We roughly saw that she was bringing in revenue that was related to the Food Network and everything, close to about $11 million, $11.5 million."
Other sponsors also distanced themselves. QVC and Kmart, which sell Deen's cookware and books, both said they were reviewing their options. QVC added, "We have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC."
And Kraft, maker of Philadelphia cream cheese, told CBS This Morning it hadn't worked with Deen since early 2012 and "...we don't have a current relationship with her."
Johnson says, "It's almost like blood in the water with a shark, and the other advertisers now are going to begin panicking, because this story is not going away, it's staying here."
On Friday, Deen had tried to keep things from bubbling over by issuing not one apology saying, "I want to apologize to everybody, uh, for the wrong that I've done, uh, I want to learn and grow from this."
Not two apologies saying, "The pain has been tremendous that I have caused myself and to others," but three apologies for using the n-word some 30 years ago.
Diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk said Deen would continue to serve as a spokeswoman. Smithfield Foods, a long-time Deen sponsor, did not respond to CBS This Morning for a request for comment.
And many of her fans said the queen of southern cuisine deserved to be forgiven. Atlanta resident Sophia Starnes says, "I'm able to forgive her because we do it in our own culture, and you guys do it in your own culture. You have words that you use for each other."
The Food Network's decision has caused a backlash of its own. Many of her angry fans flooded its Facebook page with comments like: "Please bring Paula Deen Back" and "I will no longer watch Food Network because of the unjust treatment of Paula."