CINCINNATI — Paula Deen's merchandise and media empire is fast unraveling, and now a popular Tri-State market is joining several major corporations and dropping the celebrity chef.
Meijer, a hypermarket chain with stores in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, instructed its employees Friday to remove several cook books written by Deen from store shelves.
Meijer managers and employees were given "special service instructions" stating "All titles authored by the chef Paula Deen must be returned immediately. The titles need to be pulled from the shelves on the Tuesday (7/2/13) visit. If possible, please pull and return the stock earlier."
Meijer also included photos of "Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible" and "The Deen Family Cookbook" in its instructions on which items to remove from shelves.
Last week, the Food Network announced it would not renew the celebrity cook's contract. Following that, diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk severed its ties with Deen. And after that, Target, Home Depot and Walmart announced their stores would discontinue sales of Deen's cookware and other items.
The fallout builds from revelations that the Southern celebrity chef used racial slurs in the past.
But amid the losses to Deen's empire, many book-buyers are standing by her.
As of Thursday morning, "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Recipes, All Lightened Up," ranked No. 1 on Amazon.com. The book is scheduled for October. "Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible," was at No. 13. Several other Deen books were out of stock.
Deen appeared in a "Today" show interview Wednesday, dissolving into tears and saying that anyone in the audience who's never said anything they've regretted should pick up a rock and throw it at her head.
The chef, who specializes in Southern comfort food, repeated that she's not a racist.
The Associated Press contributed to this story