"Mike, why am I out?"
"You're not a wartime consigliere, Tom."
When the Corleone family knew that business as usual was going on hold, and a conflict was in the offing, the Godfather made a decision to change things up, taking advice from people better suited for that setting.
Now Paula Deen has parted ways with her agent. For more than ten years, Barry Weiner of New York has helped Deen build an empire that included a Food Network show, books, endorsement deals, and restaurants. Now they have cut business ties.
Deen has given no particular reason for the move.
"Paula Deen has separated from her agent," Deen's spokeswoman, Elana Weiss, said in an email Thursday. "She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years. Paula wishes him well in all future endeavors."
After all the nasty luck she's seen in the past two weeks, maybe Paula feels the need to bring in fresh muscle to help get her through the mess. Maybe she blames her former agent for any recommendations that backfired during the attempt to get control of the message, like the Today show appearance and the ill-advised apology videos.
Or perhaps Weiner himself wanted to cut ties. If so, doing it in such a way as to look like Deen dropped him would be a smarter move. It looks like she is working to right the ship, helps her save some face, and leaves the door open for future work together.
Last year, Forbes magazine listed Deen as the fourth-highest-earning celebrity chef, estimating her income for that year alone at $17 million. Her company as a whole rakes in $100 million a year. But even before her lawsuit with Lisa White gets settled, Deen has lost millions due to public perception of her as a racist.
Maybe she will now bring in a heavy-hitter to guide her through the scandal.