Paula Deen Loses Five-Book Deal Despite Support from Fans

06/29/2013 at 08:50 AM EDT

Paula Deen Book Deal Canceled
Deen in Paula Deen's Kitchen at Chicago Harrah's Joliet Casino & Hotel, which will be closing
Timothy Hiatt/Getty
Paula Deen's horrible month just got worse.

On Friday, Ballantine Books announced it would not publish her latest cookbook that was slated to be released in October. The book already hit No. 1 one on the Amazon bestseller list Thursday, months before its release, after furious fans rallied to the defense of the embattled celebrity cook.

Deen, 66, has watched her lucrative endorsement deals slip away this month after she admitted to using a racial slur in the past.

"After careful consideration, Ballantine Books has made the difficult decision to cancel the publication of Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, the publisher, a division of Random House, said in statement to PEOPLE.



The company also announced it is canceling a five-book deal it signed with Deen last year. The New York Times reported the contract was said to involve millions of dollars and the decision came after companies including Sears, J.C. Penney, Walmart, Target and Kmart announced they would stop selling her products, including cookbooks.

“When Walmart, Target and J. C. Penney all announced they are discontinuing their Paula Deen business, including books, it is awfully tough to stay the course of a publication. It was a business decision," The Times quotes a source.

Paula Deen Loses Five-Book Deal Despite Support from Fans| Food Network, Random House, Scandals & Feuds, Celebrity Scandals, Today, Paula Deen

Paula Deen

Deen's fall from grace began earlier this month when a transcript of a May deposition was released and showed that she admitted to using the N-word multiple times in her past. The admission created a firestorm and although Deen issued multiple video apologies, she has watched her lucrative business deals fall like dominos, starting with her 11-year relationship with The Food Network.

On Wednesday, she made a tearful and apologetic appearance on the Today show – after abruptly pulling out of a scheduled appearance the week before – but it was not enough to stop the bleeding.

Despite her recent woes, Deen has also seen her most ardent fans rally around the food star. Supporters have expressed outrage about her firing on The Food Network's Facebook page, tickets sales for the annual Paula Deen cruise are so brisk a second voyage has been added, and a "We Support Paula Deen" Facebook page has already attracted more than half a million likes.

"I am here today because I want the world to know who I am," she told Matt Lauer Wednesday. Pressed to answer if she felt she had been treated fairly by the businesses with which she is associated, Deen said, "Would I have fired me? No. Knowing me? No."

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