Although the news broke last week, Paula Deen appeared on the Today Show this morning with Al Roker to announce to the world that she has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Normally this story would make the cover of this month’s Duh Aficionado Magazine (order your back issue of “Dr. Atkins Dies of Heart Attack” here) and that would be that because OF COURSE Paula Deen has type 2 diabetes. Except it turns out that she has HAD IT FOR THREE YEARS and just didn’t bother telling anyone as she continued her high-speed ride on top of the Butter Bullet Train. Ugh. And it just so happens that her announcement has coincided quite nicely with her signing of a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with a pharmaceutical company for a diabetes drug. OH COOL, THIS IS COOL. What a fucking asshole! Anthony Bourdain already said it best: “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.” Look, obviously our thoughts and prayers are with Paula Deen and her family during this delicious difficult time, but good grief. The worst part is how George W. Bush she is being about the whole thing. Like, OK, you’re a greedy (obviously, I mean, obviously, it is crazy how obvious it is that Paul Deen is greedy with EVERYTHING) jerk who does not care about anything other than getting as much of everything as you possibly can into your body and/or wallet. That’s fine. But then just do that. Drop the AW SHUCKS routine you FUCKING MONSTER. Look at this shit:

Her answer to Al’s question about being paid by a pharmaceutical company to hawk their medicine, “yes, I get paid for my work just like you do at your job,” is so slimy and condescending and straight up EVIL. Will no one throw a frozen ham in this woman’s face? And then her follow-up explanation for why she kept quiet for THREE YEARS about it? Because she didn’t “have anything to offer people”? Right. No, totally. It’s almost as if she cares TOO much about the well-being of regular Americans. PAULA DEEN: HERO. “The thing is, I had to continue for three years to promote a diet of overly rich, impossibly fatty foods to people on national television because of helping and God bless and America.” Boo!

Paula Deen is a bad person, and a liar. She should go directly to jail, no ifs ands or BUTTERS about it. (There we go. Via Eater.)

Comments (91)
  1. I’m calling shenanigans on this one. Paula Deen having diabetes is not a thing she has to share with anybody if she doesn’t want to. That’s her personal business, she has absolutely no obligation to disclose he medical conditions. And a rational person should know that her food is unhealthy just by looking at the recipe.

    • I kind of agree. She’s never really marketed her food as healthy, right?

      • Acknowledging that her food is unhealthy isn’t really a consolation. It’s still unhealthy, and her fame perpetuates unhealthy cooking. That said, HAVE YOU HAD THE DONUT HAMBURGER?!

        • I see that, but our world is full of unhealthy products and lifestyles being promoted all the time. I guess for me, it boils down to the fact that this one instance of Paula Dean’s diabetes coming out to promote a drug doesn’t make her any more of an asshole than anyone else in our celebrity capitalist society. All gods children are terrible!

        • That entire argument *baffles* me. “Promotes unhealthy cooking” is a phrase that’s popped up all over since this news broke last week. To be sure, she is a very wealthy individual with the means, time, and associated gleaming rich person’s kitchen to make meals that routinely require at LEAST an hour of preparation. Not to mention ingredients that require a trip to the ATM before going to the specialty fish store for 6 lbs of lump blue crab meat or some shit. Who, pray, is living this “lifestyle” she perpetuates? It would be impossible to assume a life in which you make 3 meals a day from the Paula Deen repertoire. The implication that anyone is in danger because of her is ludicrous! We’re all fine. Everyone is fine. She is not as fine, but certainly not an asshole. Jeeesus.

    • Facetaco loves Paula Dean because there’s no butter in tacos. He sees no threat in her oily stare,

    • I could see your point more if not for the fact that she has a lucrative endorsement deal for a diabetes drug. If privacy were her concern, she wouldn’t have the endorsement. If other peoples well-being were her concern, she wouldn’t have waited for an endorsement.

      • This is correct.

      • No, she’s definitely in it for money. But she’s not doing anything WRONG. Nobody is being hurt in this situation.

        • Well, she’s not doing anything against the law and you certainly couldn’t file a lawsuit in good conscience, but I don’t know if I can agree that she’s not doing anything wrong.

          • Okay, who is the victim in this scenario?

          • Without getting heavy handed, society is hurt. She’s perpetuating unhealthy cooking as something normal and that doesn’t need regulation. If society id every going to reverse its obesity epidemic, Paula Dean (and perhaps half of Food Networks roster) needs to go away.

          • There’s no aggrieved party per se, but I think making a cash grab like this in light of the diet-related health problems that are so prevalent in this country and that SHE has devoted her career to exacerbating at the least makes her kind of an asshole.

            See also Bubbles’ comment further down.

          • Butter. Butter has always been the victim.

          • Unhealthy cooking DOESN’T need regulation. Education, absolutely. But it’s not as if anything is being concealed here. It’s not even a matter of a restaurant serving unhealthy dishes. She is a television chef. People follow her recipes, and are capable of looking at the labels on every single ingredient and making their own decisions. If people want to eat food that is bad for them, that is fine. Those foods are often delicious. And most of us are capable of finding some way to balance what we WANT to do with what we SHOULD do.

          • I agree with DSN. If Paula Patton perpetuated smoking by talking about how cool it is and how “mellow” it makes you feel, we might be fairly upset. I don’t see how this is entirely different; people know that smoking is bad, but we don’t want celebrities endorsing the behavior.

          • Who’s calling for regulation here? The point is only that her actions make her kind of an asshole. I like fatty foods as much as anyone, but if I go around exhorting people to eat them and then turn around and sell the cure for the problems they cause, is it not at least a dick move?

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          • Also, the regulation thing was a response to DSN.

          • To clear a point, I was talking in the personal regulation of food ingested, not government regulation. I’m with you on that one, FT.

          • Fair enough. People SHOULD control themselves with food. Same with alcohol, or any other potentially harmful substance. Moderation and self-control are key, and the responsibility of the consumer.

    • Can we just change it to “Everything-Is-Terrible-All-The-Time-Gum” and get on with it? Sheesh.

  2. Nope, sorry, I still love Paula Deen.

  3. Did you know she’s also a 40+ year smoker? How has she survived this long? As my cousin said, “God doesn’t want her and the devil won’t take her.”

    • Paula Dean, the Keith Richards of food

    • Oh that is a BAD combination. Smoking is worse for your cholesterol than butter and together they’re very VERY bad. A close relative just had a femoral bypass last year bc he was a smoker and a shitty eater (which he stopped being years ago) and the doctors said it was more the smoking than the diet.

      What’s worse is that she was probably pre-diabetic FOR YEARS and ignored it instead of making the needed changes in diet and exercise to reverse what damage she had done.

    • the south is populated by these super humans. men and women who eat nothing but pork fat every day, drink gallons of booze, smoke tons of cigarettes, and never exercise. and somehow never really get sick. they just like, keel over at 85 while betting on horses at the racetrack.

  4. If this were a Christopher Guest film I’d say, “Funny, but a little too on the nose. He should try making it at least a little more realistic.”

  5. I used to really like Paula Deen. I did. I watch a lot of Food TV because I like to cook, and though I’m one of those foodie “make it from scratch” guys who tries to eat pretty healthy, I watched Paula because she was like an aunt who made us delicious food that maybe our parents wouldn’t have made. This… this makes me sad, and angry. Type 2 diabetes is almost wholly caused by diet, and it’s become a growing problem in the US as we eat larger portions of bad, processed food. Look, if she were anything but a TV Chef who *promotes* eating *huge portions* of super-unhealthy food, it wouldn’t be any of our damn business if she had the disease or signed a contract with a drug company. Yet she’s not only still on TV making that food – she’s hawking the products to deal with the effect of her cooking! What BALLS on this woman! It’s like a tobacco company selling cigarettes and then cornering the market on nicotine patches. Ugh. I am done with you, Paula, and I hope the rest of America joins me.

  6. huh, i guess you don’t really need to put 8 pounds of lard on a sandwich after all. weird.

  7. and the donut on the cheeseburger of a situation this is is that she is still endorsing her “style” of cooking and the food she makes and offers a pharmaceutical as a cure-all solution – rather than, you know, promote healthy [or at least healthier] foods.

    • I think that’s what makes her an asshole…she had three options 1) just never tell the public 2) tell the public and use her disease to promote a public health prevention message or 3) wait until she got a lucrative endorsement deal from a pharmacuetical company where it is her best interest not to make a connection between lifestyle choices and type 2 diabetes but just talk about how to manage type 2 diabetes. Option 1) or 2) doesn’t make her an asshole.

  8. Did anyone else follow the Twitter dustup between Baratunde Thurston and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville on this, after the former called Deen’s diabetes “gastrointestinal justice”? It’s fascinating:
    (comment thread also contains a commenter being banned for refusing to use the word “fat” in place of their personally preferred term “overweight”. FUN!)

    Sadly absent is the less heated back and forth between Thurston and Kate Harding, another leading FA (fat acceptance) proponent, because the entire picture is like a Goofus and Gallant of informing someone that their dumb joke was supremely offensive to you.

    • Ugh, Shakesville. I’m a feminist and all, but…ugh. Please include a trigger warning next time you’re about to bring up Shakesville.


        I am weirdly fascinated by the Shakesville rabbit-hole, not the least of which because they LOVE them some Videogum around there, and at times the snark mimics Gabe-snark to the point that I wondered if there was some big connection I was missing between the two.

        But I will always love a good internet commenting trainwreck, and few places have them as often or over things as baffling.

      • ALSO, also, (this is really terrible and I feel really bad but I have to say this.) Does ANYONE ever get reminded of Shakesville when they watch the bookstore parts of Portlandia? I am the worst. THE WORST.

        • I don’t think the feminist bookstore people could hack it at SV. They’d point out some small contradiction or difference in opinion asking for clarification and get banned for making bad faith accusations.

          Glad we’ve all had this chance to talk about this, gang. Sometimes the weirder corners of the internet just demand commiseration.

    • I tend to agree though – what does “overweight” even mean? It implies that there’s a “right” weight, and that anything under or over it is “wrong.” It’s the same way with overcast. Can we please just call it “Cloudy?” I mean, what is the “right” cast, anyways?! And its not like anyone ever says “undercast.” Believe it or not I also have a problem with the word underscore. It all started back in 1998, when I though I was scoring a letter just fine

    • Shakesville is worse than Jezebel, and Jezebel is THE WORST. It’s hard to be that awful.

  9. Methinks the gentleman who advertised SNUS on his website for 19 year old hipsters doth protest too much.

  10. I guess I’ve never thought of Paula Dean as a danger of some kind. I don’t watch her show and I don’t cook with butter all that often. But this does make me wonder how big her following is, and furthermore, how many of those people are overweight or have diabetes or heart disease because of Dean’s promotion of unhealthy, indulgent eating? Interesting question. Is Paula Dean doing real harm to society?

  11. It gets butter.

  12. On related news Larry the Cable Guy is the spokesman for Prilsosec.

    As afar as I can tell the drug is advertised as an aid to help you eat shitty food. Granted you can’t get it without a prescription but getting frequent heartburn is a sign of a bigger problem than not being able to eat over processed meat at a tailgate party.
    People like these should absolutely get called on their bullshit. They belong with the same group of people who sell superfoods and cleanses, the people who sell dietary supplements labeled as wonder drugs and that guy who sold me a “program to watch 1000 tv channels on your pc”.

    • I’m no Jake Gyllenhaal circa-1996, but doesn’t that “OTC” in the corner mean that you CAN get it without a prescription?

      • I didn’t see that. You are right, Taco. So it’s way worse than I thought. It basically says, ‘Instead of going to a docto about your chest pain, eat this drug and have a hot dog”. It’s litr’lly a drug to help you eat shittier and get less healthy.

    • This photo makes me laugh/cringe because it might as well be of a friend of mine. One of my redneckier friends. Eating really shitty food is actually a huge point of pride and masculinity for him. And he will overeat till he can’t even sit properly, then pat his bulging stomach saying, “Oh, yeah… that’s the stuff…” Why? Food for him is somehow a highly political statement that there ain’t no way no Federal Government’s gonna take his guns away and tell him how to live. I honestly don’t understand the connection but it exists in his head. “I am going to insist on feeling like hell and dying young because if I don’t then the Communists have won”? Yeah, that’s his take, and I don’t get it.

  13. Obviously the argument about personal responsibility regarding one’s own health, and the fact that Paula Dean did not force anyone to eat unhealthy is a valid one.

    But the facts remain as such: Paula Dean profited greatly promoting a lifestyle of ridiculously unhealthy eating. She got sick from said lifestyle, and hid it from her fans while continuing to profit. Now, she has the opportunity to profit from preaching the opposite, while schilling a drug for a billion dollar pharmaceutical company that is now the antidote to the lifestyle she promoted. So yes, she is a total asshole, with a heaping side of hypocrite.

  14. She thinks that the if you don’t want to eat terribly, the alternative is “not eating”?

  15. Yall remember how on Twin Peaks the guy Benjamin Horn had a sex fetish for food? He’d sniff a sandwich and get all “tumescent” on it and stuff. He’d probably get it on with Paula Deen if given the chance.

  16. Reminds me of my mom’s observation on Chinese food. She said if you watch the employees eat, they generally don’t eat the same food they sell to customers, and that is not a good sign. I believe that if you are a cook you should be able to eat your own cooking, and Paula Deen, knowing full well for 3 years she had type 2 diabetes, should have altered the food (healthier ingredients, or at least some non-fried, non-buttered veggies). Otherwise she intentionally mislead people. Whenever I thought to myself “Who the hell would eat that fried crap,” I assumed that because Paula Deen made it, she was the only one.

    I miss the days when celebrities stood by the goods they endorsed, but I don’t think I was alive during any of them.

    Side note: This also reminds me of that episode of South Park where the boys made Butters gain a ton of weight so he could get lose it eating only Chinese food to make a buck ala Jared and the Subway diet.

  17. Gabe – Dr. Atkins didn’t die of a heart attack, he died after he slipped on ice and hit his head. I know this because I think it’s going to happen to me any time I’m on an icy sidewalk.

  18. It’s like Jay-Z now banning the B word from his music since he now has a daughter. Paula Deen came up from poverty by any means necessary. So did Jay Z. To do something like that takes a killer instinct and the ability to care for yourself before all others. She is not in bed with big Pharma and Americans love the idea of taking a pill rather than doing the “hard work” of exercise and eating real food.

  19. Um… butter consumption has nothing to do with diabetes. Simple carbohydrates do, on the other hand. So, it wasn’t the hamburger or the egg or the butter, but, rather, the doughnut bun that was the real problem.

  20. Yes but Gabe’s not saying she should be sued or thrown in jail. He’s just saying she’s an asshole, which she is.

    She’s a real country music fan. See you next Tuesday.

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  22. Natural Selection is a bitch.


    Rick Astley makes the case being Paula’s new pancreas.

  24. She wanted “to bring something to the table?!”


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