The food empire that Paula Deen created seemed to grow forever. For a long time, it appeared to be so until allegations of racism were thrown at her. Her own admission of the use of the N-word in reference to black people triggered the full-blown controversy which could affect everything she worked for.
The downfall of Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking empire is almost certain as long-time sponsors and business partners cut off ties following a controversy related to racial and sexual discrimination. This is in spite of fans rallying support by flocking to her restaurants and ordering her cookbooks. Home Depot and Target , home improvement and retail giants respectively decided to discontinue carrying her products. Her relationship with Novo Nordisk as a spokeswoman for an educational campaign about diabetes has been suspended. Home shopping channel QVC has temporarily stopped selling her products. Walmart and Caesars Entertainment Corporation were the first ones to end business relationships with Deen when the controversy broke out. Smithfield Foods likewise dropped her as a spokeswoman in connection with Deen-branded hams. Food Network has also announced that it will no longer renew Deen’s contract upon its expiration this month. Where does Paula Deen go from here?
As a celebrity chef, Deen has had her share of criticisms. Having Southern-style comfort foods as her specialty, criticism for her “unhealthy food” came often and with regular frequency. Foods having high amount of fats, salt, and sugar, were her offering mainstays. One of her cookbooks aimed particularly at children earned the ire of people concerned with an already obese nation.
Her admission of having type 2 diabetes, a disease that is caused to a large degree by unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle , that was timed with debut as a spokeswoman of an educational campaign about diabetes was seen by many as self-serving. Apparently, her stint with the drug company has provided her a license to talk about her disease which she would have continually hidden to protect her business. And now comes the most difficult, the racial discrimination controversy.
Paula Deen appeals for understanding from the public for her mistake saying that everyone has at one point in their lives said something that he or she would rather take back. However, not everyone who made this mistake stands to lose something as big as what she’s got. Will she be able to make a comeback? Only time can tell.
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