Harrah's in NC drops Paula Deen

12:43 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
  • Paula Deen was also dropped by Smithfield and the Food Network.(Photo: AP)
    
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Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY

Paula Deen cried and defended herself on Today today, but it apparently didn't help.

Caesars Entertainment company has released a statement saying it had "reached an agreement with Paula Deen Enterprises not to renew the business relationship."

The company said it is "in the best interest" to part ways.

A release from Caesars said it intends to rebrand the current Paula Deen-themed restaurants in the coming months, says the statement received by USA TODAY.

Deen has themed restaurants in four Caesars properties: Horseshoe Southern Indiana (near Louisville), Harrah's Tunica (outside Memphis), Harrah's Joliet (outside Chicago) and Harrah's Cherokee (North Carolina).

Smithfield Foods and the Food Network have already cut ties with Deen.

Forbes last year ranked Deen the fourth highest-earning celebrity chef. She made $4.5 million in 2008 and has been on an upward climb every year since, banking $17 million in 2012, according to the magazine. Forbes wealth reporter Caleb Melby told ABCNews.com that an estimated $2.5 million of Deen's earnings come from the Food Network, which was paying her about $50,000 an episode. The Smithfield deal, in which Deen served as a spokeswoman for the brand, including her own line of hams, since 2006, will likely cost her another $1 million to $2 million.

Deen has at least 17 licensing and endorsement partnerships, which, Melby said, make up about 30% of her earnings.

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