Paula Deen

When I wrote a story on "Duck Dynasty's" $400 million merchandise empire for a recent issue of Forbes, one quote stood out during my reporting. "It's a huge risk, taking on personalities," said Charlie Anderson, CEO of retail marketing agency Shoptology. "Look at what happened with Paula Deen," he said, referring to the Southern chef's racism scandal and resulting loss of lucrative partnerships. Anderson added: "The ‘Duck Dynasty’ guys have flaws, but they're wholesome."

Paula Deen lost another chunk of her empire on Wednesday. Wal-Mart announced that it has ended its relationship with the Southern celebrity chef, part of the continuing fallout in the wake of revelations that she used racial slurs in the past. The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., currently carries a variety of products under her moniker, including food items, cookware and health and wellness products, at all of its 4,000 U.S. namesake stores. The retailer began selling her merchandise several years ago.

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