Paula Deen probably expected more sympathy when she came forward with her 2008 Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Instead, some are questioning the timing and ethics of her announcement.
“When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you’ve been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you’ve got Type 2 Diabetes … it’s in bad taste if nothing else,” fellow food star and frequent critic Anthony Bourdain told Eater.com Tuesday. He was referring to Deen’s new endorsement deal with the diabetes drug Victoza.
He later added to his criticism on Twitter.
“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”
The two have feuded for a long time – Bourdain even called her out in an August 2011 interview with TV Guide.
“She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations, and she’s proud of the fact that her food is [expletive bad for you,” the “No Reservations” star told the magazine.
“I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it is OK to eat food that is killing us,” Bourdain added. “Plus, her food sucks.”
Deen kept her cool in her response to her nemesis, telling the New York Post that she’s donated millions of pounds of food to food banks over the years.
Bourdain does have a point, though: You can’t live — and profit — from both sides of an issue like diabetes. It also sends a horrible message to the 17 percent of American children considered obsese – basically, she’s saying it’s okay to eat whatever you want because there’s a drug that will help manage it. This is exactly the message Bourdain is criticizing – and plenty of people agree with him, too.
“Ms. Deen would not say what she thought had caused her illness. But she said she takes the drug she is promoting, Victoza,” New York Times Julia Moskin wrote.
“She need not stop cooking, but she should probably eat that way only rarely,” Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told ABC News. “…The woman has a deep-fat fryer in her kitchen. That’s a red flag if there ever was one.”
Still, plenty of food critics are sticking up for her – and Deen isn’t worried about the haters.
“I will never use a substitute for butter,” she told Parade.com. “Margarine is one molecule away from eating plastic.”
Will she break into the low-fat, low-calorie world? Her two sons, Jamie Deen and Bobby Dean, are working with her on the “Diabetes in a New Light” website that features healthier fare. She vows that nothing will change.
“Will I cut butter out of my life completely? No. I will take measurements to manage it.”
Which side are you on: Anthony Bourdain’s or Paula Deen’s?
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