WASHINGTON, July 3, 2013 — When Paula Deen was unceremoniously dropped from the Food Network and a number of her endorsement deals, including those from Walmart, Smithfield Foods and Caesers Entertainment, was her firing executed with just cause?
Did the queen of sugar and butter go down in flames just for saying the “N’ word or are there more problems behind the Paula Deen enterprises?
In 2009, Paula Deen was diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes. On January 17, 2012, Deen admitted her diagnoses, indicating she had been hiding her disease for three years.
Angry Food Network viewers accused Deen of promoting fatty, sugar-heavy foods despite knowing the potential repercussions of those food choices. They noted that as a diabetic, Deen could not eat what she cooked on her shows. Donna Shaft, a marketing consultant who has been battling type 2 diabetes for 20 years, told Fox411, “It is hypocritical [for Paula] to have continued to very publicly promote entirely unhealthy food choices so vital to the management of diabetes.”
Also in 2012, Deen announced a partnership with diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk. On this, Shaft noted, “We of course don’t know the terms of her contract with the drug company, but it seems either stupid or hypocritical of them to be endorsing the eating lifestyle she advocates. For her to publicly facilitate the illusion that a T2 can consume the quantities of fats and carbs and sugars she showcases, even occasionally, is nothing short of a dangerous abuse of the trust many in her audience place in her as an influential public figure.”
Food Network had to do some damage control after the comments, while Deen continued to promote dishes such as “Krispy Kreme bread pudding” with extra butter and sugar, “Deep fried lasagna”, “Chocolate Cheese Fudge” and “Sausage Pancake Egg Sandwiches” on her programs.
On March 5, 2012 in a Chatham County Superior Court case, Paula Deen family of companies faced a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the former general manager Lisa T. Jackson of Uncle Bubba’s restaurant. According to the lawsuit, Lisa T. Jackson who is a white female, alleges she was the victim of violent behavior and sexual harassment for over five years while she worked for the Deen Family.
Jackson charged The Lady & Sons restaurant with engaging in a persistent pattern of racial discrimination in operation of the Deen’s business. In the lawsuit, Jackson attributes most of the problems to Deen’s brother, Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers and managing operational method of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House Inc. She also says Karl Schumacher, a male manager, reportedly referred to Ms. Jackson as “almost Jewish” and Bubba Hiers reportedly referred to her as “my little Jew Girl”
Jackson sought to settle the case for $1.25 million, but Deen refused.
The statement by the Food Network on June 21, 2013 was short and to the point: “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”
And that is the only statement we have heard from the Food Network. Barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted a videotaped apology online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past, the Food Network said enough is enough and ended 14 years of relationship with the Deen Enterprise. The Food Network, which made Deen a star with “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2002 ended the star chef’s career.
In a chain reaction to the problems behind the Deen brand, Sears Holdings, which owns department store chain Sears and discount store chain Kmart, has decided to “phase out all products” tied to Deen’s brand. “We will continue to evaluate the situation,” the company said in a statement. “Our members’ needs will be given first priority as we work to continue to provide quality cookware in our stores and online.”
When you have a bad brand it is just bad for business.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.