Things have trending downward for celebrity chef Paula Deen in the past week – a lost Food Network contract plus quite a few lost sponsorship deals. I guess that’s putting it mildly. Now, let’s add another to the list – this time it’s a suspended deal with diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk.
“Novo Nordisk and Paula Deen have mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now, while she takes time to focus her attention where it is needed. Novo Nordisk would like to acknowledge Paula’s involvement in our Diabetes in a New Light campaign, where she has helped make many people aware of Type 2 diabetes and the lifestyle changes needed to control this serious disease,” said the company in a statement. In a Twitter clarification, Novo Nordisk US makes a point to say that they haven’t “dumped” Deen:
To clarify, we have "suspended our patient education activities for now". Novo Nordisk has not "dumped" her.
— Novo Nordisk US (@novonordiskus) June 27, 2013
Deen’s troubles began after a former employee accused her of using racial slurs as well as participating in active discrimination. A deposition was made public in which Deen admitted to using these racial slurs in the past.
In the last week, Deen has been dropped by Walmart, Home Depot, and Target. She’s also lost a deal with Smithfield Foods.
The “suspension” with Novo Nordisk somehow manages to draw a previous Paula Deen scandal into a current one. Back in January of 2012, Deen made a public announcement that she suffered from type 2 diabetes – but that announcement also came with the new that Deen was now a spokesperson for a diabetes drug – Novo Nordisk’s Victoza.
Of course, the scandal here was that Deen, who had built a career on what most would deem unhealthy eating, was now being paid to market a drug for a condition she’d likely given herself. This sparked plenty of public outrage.
As Anthony Bourdain once put it,
“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”
Of course, there are also plenty of Paula Deen supporters to match her detractors. She thanked them all in a tweet Thursday afternoon:
I want to express how deeply your kind words have moved me the last few days. Thank you everyone, and love to all.
— Paula Deen (@Paula_Deen) June 27, 2013