Nancy Assuncao has quit as public relations rep and marketing director to celebrity chef Paula Deen. They had worked together for six years.
The New York Posts says
the split is due to Deen’s plans to endorse a diabetes drug.
Last week, Deen made headlines after she announced that she has Type 2 diabetes. Deen had kept that a secret for three years, drawing stiff criticism
because her recipes are known to be packed with sugar and fat—the kind of stuff diabetics should generally avoid.
Deen now plans to endorse the diabetes drug Novo Nordisk and promote different foods. That decision is reportedly what caused Assuncao to call it quits.
“Although we had a great deal of fun along the way, I could not agree with the new business strategy going forward,” she told the Post. “Nonetheless, I wish them continued success.”
On the blog PRBreakfastClub
, PR and social media specialist John Trader called Deen’s delayed announcement about her diabetes a transparency failure. He wrote:
Whether or not you are a Deen fan and enjoy her style of cooking, you can’t help but feel that this whole story smacks of hypocrisy. After her initial diagnosis, Deen continued to actively promote her high fat diet and only disclosed her condition only when it benefitted her in representing the drug company (Novo Nordisk) who manufacturers the diabetes drug she is promoting. To say that the timing of this sequence of events is troubling would be the equivalent of saying that the Penn State sexual harassment PR gaffe couldn’t have been avoided (rest in peace Joe Pa). In an age where consumers increasingly demand a high level of brand transparency as a condition of their loyalty, how could something like this happen?
Deen reportedly has a new PR rep, who will likely have his or her hands full.