QVC Takes “Pause” With Paula Deen, But Says “People Deserve Second Chances”
Paula Deen has been dropped — for now — by QVC.
The company explained its decision to “take a pause” in its relationship with the embattled kitchen celebrity in a lengthy letter CEO Mike George posted to the company’s website on Thursday (see below).
These development marks the latest in a long line of professional setbacks for Deen, whose racism scandal has already cost her high-profile gigs with Food Network and as a restaurateur for Caesars Entertainment, and merchandise deals with Walmart.
See QVC’s announcement about Deen — and her own statement — below.
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LETTER FROM QVC CEO MIKE GEORGE
To our customers,
Over the past week, in our online communities, our social forums, and our call centers, and through letters and emails to me, many of you have passionately shared your thoughts about QVC’s relationship with Paula Deen. This issue is so important to you and to our community that I wanted to talk with you directly about it, rather than couch our response in some anonymous corporate statement.
Many of you have expressed disappointment and even anger at the comments Paula has acknowledged making. Others feel equally strongly that Paula is not being treated fairly in the public debate and deserves forgiveness. Your spirited conversation reflects the complexity of the issues raised and the deep feelings surrounding them.
Regardless of where you stand, many of you are questioning what QVC is planning to do and whether we will handle our relationship with Paula in a respectful and appropriate manner – for Paula, for our customers, and for the broader community.
We owe you an answer. We too are troubled by what Paula has acknowledged saying. We’re also troubled by the allegations against her. We deeply believe, as you do, that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
At the same time, we have enjoyed a positive, long-standing relationship with Paula. She has always been gracious and supportive to every QVC team member she encountered. And we value, as we hope you know, all of our relationships. We believe it’s important to handle difficult situations such as this in a thoughtful and fair manner that recognizes our common humanity.
And in any strong relationship, when troubles arise, the first step is to talk. We have talked with Paula and her team extensively over the last several days, and together we have considered what is best for our customers, for Paula, and for QVC. For now, we have decided to take a pause. Paula won’t be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months. We all think it’s important, at this moment, for Paula to concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and on her path forward.
Some of you may wonder whether this is a “forever” decision – whether we are simply ending our association with Paula. We don’t think that’s how relationships work. People deserve second chances. And we always strive to do the right thing.
I am grateful for the openness and honesty you have brought to the conversation, and I recognize that many of you will be disappointed by our decision. Whatever your views, we will continue to do what we have always strived to do – create a great shopping experience, and earn your trust, and your business, every day.
President & CEO
LETTER FROM PAULA DEEN
To my customers at QVC,
I want to let you know how much I value my relationship with all of you and with QVC. I’ve loved hearing from all of you over the years, with your calls and posts and letters. I’ve so enjoyed my close relationship with David Venable and his team, and my warm interactions with the extended QVC family. I also appreciate the caring way that QVC has interacted with me over the past week.
As you know, I have some important things to work on right now, both personally and professionally. And so we’ve agreed that it’s best for me to step back from QVC and focus on setting things right.
I am truly sorry and assure you I will work hard to earn your forgiveness.