High Point-based furniture company to keep Paula Deen brand

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Paula Deen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Universal Furniture President & CEO Jeff Scheffer announced Wednesday the company will stand by Paula Deen after “a very difficult few weeks.”

“Obviously, we feel terrible for Paula. The Paula we know – and the one I believe you have gotten to know – is not the same person as the one being portrayed in the media,” Scheffer said in a letter sent to retailers.

“Yes, she has acknowledged saying some hurtful things but she has also apologized, and we accept that. We also feel equally dismayed for those hurt by Paula’s remarks, which for certain do not represent our own diverse culture and beliefs at Universal.”

In the letter, Scheffer said after careful consideration, “we have decided to move forward with the Paula Deen brand and will continue to market her collections as the Paula Deen Home Collection from Universal Furniture.”

Scheffer said over the past few weeks, they heard from many retailers expressing “passionate support” for Deen.

“Several factors contributed to this decision – our belief that Paula is not the person portrayed by the media, our confidence that the brand will continue to have significant retail value, and most importantly the feedback that we have received from you, our customer,” Scheffer said.

Deen has faced backlash since admitting in a deposition that she previously used a racial slur. Deen has been dropped by Target, Home Depot and several other retailers. Deen’s kitchen in Cherokee was also closed.