Paula Deen sure is in a shitstorm these days. Did you see the awkward “Today” show interview? I watched it, with an open mouth, in awe of what was coming out of hers.

I know she must have been nervous to announce this diabetes news, what with the huge impact it will have on her brand and her butter-lovin’ image. But how she handled that interview was just tragic. I am a publicist and I have advised my clients for over fifteen years on what to say to the media. If I had been her publicist, I most certainly would have advised her differently on what to say.

First, let me say that the fact that she hid her diabetes for THREE YEARS, all the while pushing her same fattening recipes, is just shameful. It’s horrible. It’s criminal.

I love Paula (until now). I found her to be charming, sweet, and I love her success story. I truly believe that she is a good person. However, I think fame and fortune are beginning to show her ugly side. I watched her show a lot. I made one recipe for Orange Brownies and they were delicious. But that’s about it. Mostly, I watched for entertainment and fun.

But let’s just look at how bad she handled the “Today” show interview. When talking to Al, she was awkward, fidgety and uncomfortable. So the body language alone told you the guilt she was carrying. Then, when Al mentions that she is partnering with a pharmaceutical company, she basically says “Yes, I get paid for my work just like you do here Al.” If I were Al Roker, I would have been all over that one like mud on  a pig. How dare she compare herself to a news organization? But Al is too nice, so instead, he gives her a strange look and moves on.

Then Paula talks about how she only does about 30 shows, so that’s only 30 days and she is not eating like that for the rest of the year. Well Paula, that my dear, is a total cop out! Since you don’t say on the show that these recipes are not meant for everyday and only for once in a while, and since you go on and on about how great butter is, giggling and licking your lips as you add it to your recipe, you are totally responsible for your viewers’ perception that you eat and cook this way every day.

And, Paula says in the interview, “I’m your cook, not your doctor.” It doesn’t matter Paula. That’s like McDonald’s saying, well we just make this stuff, we don’t force you to buy it. You are to blame for glamorizing and lending excitement to the concept of fattening foods. By your cooking and eating it on the show, you are giving the greenlight to others to live this way. And the fact that you don’t want to own up to it is pathetic and despicable.

But that’s not even the worst. For me, the ABSOLUTE WORST part of the interview was that all she wanted to do was shamelessly promote her new show!! She went on and on about the new program and then asked Al “Have you seen Bobby’s new show?” Al looked at her like she was crazy and said “Uh no…” This was not the time nor the place Paula to plug your new show. As a publicist, I would have advised her very differently.

In an interview, this is what I would advise Paula to say:

  1. I was wrong to not tell people earlier but I was scared and didn’t want to admit it to myself that I had diabetes.
  2.  It was my lifestyle that made me a diabetic. I don’t exercise and I’m overweight. By Paula focusing on her weight and sedentary lifestyle, she can get sympathy and distract from the issue of her cooking.
  3. I assumed that people knew that I didn’t cook or eat the way I do on my show all the time and that was wrong. A lot of the shows are about cakes and fattening foods for special occasions, not everyday. I should have made a point of that.
  4. On our shows going forward, I will still do some of the amazing, delicious, fattening recipes because they are terrific for a once in a while treat and I plan to eat them once in a while, but I plan to also incorporate some lighter dishes and to constantly remind my viewers that the fattening recipes are for special times, like Thanksgiving. Not every day.
  5. I hope to help bring some attention to this health issue and help others to be able to enjoy the foods they love in moderation, like I plan to do.

Now wouldn’t that have been a bit better for her image? Either way, she is going down a notch or two for this whole debacle and unfortunately, she deserves it.