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Smithfield drops Paula Deen as spokeswoman

NEW YORK — Paula Deen lost another part of her empire on Monday: Smithfield Foods said it is dropping her as a spokeswoman.

The announcement came days after the Food Network said it would not renew the celebrity cook’s contract in the wake of revelations that she used racial slurs in the past.

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Smithfield sold Paula Deen-branded hams in addition to using her as a spokeswoman. In a statement, the company said it ‘‘condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen.’’

QVC also said it was reviewing its deal with Paula Deen Enterprises to sell the star’s cookbooks and cookware.

Several retailers, which sell Paula Deen cookware, were taking a wait-and-see approach.

Sears Holdings Corp. said it ‘‘is currently exploring next steps as they pertain to Ms. Deen’s products.’’ Target Corp. said it is ‘‘evaluating the situation.’’ Meyer Corp., which produces the cookware under the Paula Deen brand, declined to comment.

Deen’s rapid fall from favor came after the 66-year-old Food Network star admitted in a deposition in a discrimination lawsuit that she used racial slurs in the past. Deen was asked under oath if she had ever used the N-word. ‘‘Yes, of course,’’ Deen said, though she added, ‘‘It’s been a very long time.’’

Deen insisted she and her family do not tolerate prejudice, and in a videotaped apology, she asked fans and critics for forgiveness.

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