Reaction to the news that Paula Deen has been secretly living with Type 2 diabetes for the past three years (while continuing to promote recipes that push more Americans towards the disease) has included everything from sympathy to outrage.
The fact that she’s using her position as an unhealthy chef to also make tons of cash promoting a non-insulin drug for Novo Nordisk – well, that’s just pushed all the wrong buttons.
“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later,” tweeted chef Anthony Bourdain yesterday. The host of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” last year called Deen “the most dangerous person in America” because of her high-fat cooking.
With all the negative reaction surrounding what’s reported to be a “lucrative deal” with the drug company, it appears that Deen has felt compelled to give back some of that money.
USA Today is reporting that on yesterday’s ABC food chat show “The Chew”, Deen announced that she would be donating an undisclosed portion of her contract to the nonprofit American Diabetes Association. From the site:
Deen said she and her two grown sons, Bobby and Jamie, are working with the drug company’s Diabetes in a New Light campaign “because we, like everybody else, have to work.”
But, she added, the three are “in a position” to “set aside a certain percentage (of the Novo Nordisk money) and we’re donating that back to the ADA.”
Hilariously enough, USA Today reached out to the ADA, and they have absolutely no idea what Deen is talking about. But one spokesperson in a statement did commend Deen for disclosing her fight with Type 2, saying they hope she “inspires many people living with Type 2 diabetes to take a more positive approach to their diabetes care.”
Oh – and as for Paula Deen signing with Novo Nordisk because she “has to work”, don’t feel too bad for her. According to New York magazine, Deen pulled in an estimated $10M in 2010.