Are We Blaming the Victim?

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Last week, celebrity chef Paula Deen, cooked up a firestorm by almost simultaneously announcing she has type 2 diabetes and that she will be endorsing the pharmaceutical drug Victoza.

To loyal viewers of the Southern cook who believes “butter is betta,” it didn’t come as a big surprise. In fact, there was a little bit of and wide-spread sentiment that she brought it upon herself and even a tiny bit of Schadenfreude.  Are we blaming the victim here? Did we blame Michael Douglas when he came down with throat cancer? Did we point a finger at Michael J. Fox when he went public with his battle with Parkinson’s disease?

OR, Are We Upset that She is Cashing In?
What’s the difference here? Why are we furious with Paula and sympathetic with the Michaels?  Perhaps it’s because our beloved chef confessed that she has no interest in radically overhauling her diet, but instead will use an almost $500/month pharmaceutical drug.

With this marketing tie-in, there are tons of issues:

  • Should celebrities even be endorsing drugs? (Hasn’t stopped Sally Fields, Marcia Cross, or Kathleen Turner, for      example)
  • Should non-pharmaceutical options be deployed first (In other words, if Paula lost weight and changed her lifestyle, couldn’t she go off the meds?)
  • Why did Paula ink a multi-million dollar deal with Novartis instead of Jenny Craig? (Wouldn’t you love to follow her story?)

Paula is no doubt authentic to her brand – deep fried until she dies, but at what price?

Can’t wait to hear your comments!

3 Comments
  1. Paula Deen is my neighbor. Honest. She has a local cooking show that is taped at her home and I’ve noticed that she has slimmed down considerably but not only that, she has changed her recipes to lower sugar and no butter.

    To be honest, I don’t think it’s hurt her brand but instead has added to it. People are looking for a better way to cook those old favorites in a more healthy way. I believe she has and is capitalizing on this market as well.

    • Wow! Glad to hear that she is learning to cook without so much butter. If she can do it, anyone can do it! Thanks for writing.

  2. Thanks to this week’s issue of People, happy to see Paula looking mo’ better! In fact, she looks great and appears as if she is taking her doctor’s advice to heart – literally. Great job!

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