Reports: Target, Walmart, Novo Nordisk cut ties with Paula Deen

NEW YORK — Target has ended its relationship with celebrity chef Paula Deen following reports that she used racial slurs, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported that the Minneapolis-based mass merchandise chain would not replenish its inventory of Paula Deen-branded cookware in its stores or online once the merchandise sold out. Walmart has made a similar announcement.

Also, according to reports, Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk said it would suspect its marketing deal with the Southern cook. In a controversial move last year, Novo Nordisk announced that it had hired Deen to promote the Type 2 diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) at the same time Deen publicly revealed she had the disease. Many, including celebrity chef and frequent Deen critic Anthony Bourdain, lashed out, saying it was hypocritical for Deen to have revealed her disease following a promotional deal for a diabetes drug after years of promoting fat- and sugar-laden cooking. These have included dishes such as deep-fried cheesecake, a hamburger with egg and bacon and donuts for buns and lasagna placed between a two slices of buttered French bread to form a sandwich.

Deen's empire has been crashing down amid revelations that she had previously used a racial slur to refer to African-Americans and tolerated offensive jokes about blacks, Jews, gays and others in the workplace. The revelations were made in a deposition Deen gave in a lawsuit filed by a former employee of her Savannah, Ga., restaurant.