Paula Deen’s announcement (some have called it a confession) of a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis has provoked reaction ranging from supportive to derisive.
Much of the negativity derives from the Queen of Comfort Food’s decision to wait three years to reveal her diagnosis. Some have said that her employers at Food Network only found out a week before she broke the news, at which time it was revealed she would endorse a diabetes drug.
“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later,” tweeted celebrity chef and Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain, long a Deen critic. Here’s what he said before the diagnosis.
Bourdain wasn’t alone in his criticism. A number of diabetics called her a “hypocrite” for hiding the disease.
For her part, Deen said this won’t change the way she cooks and that she has always preached moderation. And the day AFTER the news (and criticism) broke, she announced she would be donating some of her endorsement to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Could this have been handled in a way that allowed Deen to remain a Food Network star AND become a respected spokesperson for the diabetes drug maker? No one will ever know, but it’s a safe bet that Deen (and anyone else with difficult news to reveal) would be better off if they followed these simple rules:
- Reveal the news in a timely fashion. Three years, too long. Six months, or however long it took her to get her health management program going, is reasonable.
- Be honest about how it impacts your work. She could have been more explicit about healthier ways to eat during interviews than just saying “moderation” was important.
- It’s better to give than receive. Better to announce on Day One that she would be giving some of her endorsement money to the ADA.
But that’s just we think here at R&R Media. What would YOU have told Paula?