July 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM ET
A group of staunch Paula Deen fans are venting their displeasure at the retailers and networks that dropped her by buttering them up.
A campaign dubbed “Butter for Paula’’ is encouraging Deen supporters to mail cleaned and folded butter wrappers to companies like Food Network, Home Depot and Walgreens, in protest over their decisions to sever ties with the celebrity chef in the controversy involving her admission of her past use of racial slurs.
Butter is one of Deen’s trademark ingredients, and the campaign argues that “a company without Paula is like a wrapper without butter.” The wrappers symbolize that her supporters are sticking with her. The campaign has been organized by John Schmitt, a hotel auditor in Indianapolis. Schmitt also started a Facebook page called “We support Paula Deen” on June 21 that has garnered more than 600,000 “likes.”
The senders of the protest butter wrappers are encouraged to include their own note or one from the campaign's site that reads in part, “We’re ashamed and outraged at the media’s careless and negligent handling and reporting which has caused pain and devastation in so many innocent lives.” The message then asks for Food Network to restore her contract and for retailers to again stock her product lines.
"Based on hours of research and consultation with experts, we’ve come to the conclusion that Paula Deen was unjustly vilified by a carefully calculated media smear campaign,'' the site reads.
Deen has been embroiled in scandal after she admitted using racial slurs, a detail that came to light after a May 17 deposition transcript was leaked. Deen and her brother Earl "Bubba" Heirs are being sued by a former manager of one of Deen's restaurants over their allegedly discriminatory behavior toward their employees.