More fallout from the Paula Deen controversy. The long-time publicist for the self-proclaimed 'Queen of Southern Cuisine' has quit. The departure was disclosed just one week after Deen signed up as a spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk, which sells diabetes treatments, but failed to disclose she learned three years ago that she has the disease, even as she served up unhealthy meals on her Food Network show (back story).
Nancy Assuncao, who spent six years touting Deen to a hungry public, "strongly disagreed with Deen's dramatic turnabout, after years of promoting fatty foods, to announcing she has a deal with a diabetes drug company and will be promoting lighter food and 'Diabetes In A New Light,' " an unnamed source tells The New York Post.
"While Paula did tell some people at her live appearances about her diabetes, she certainly didn't talk about it on her show. Nancy disagreed with Paula's plan to be a drug-company spokesman and challenged her decision. But this wasn't a battle Nancy felt she was going to win. She couldn't be part of it," the source tells the paper. Assuncao apparently quit just before the deal was announced.
In a prepared statement given to the newspaper, Assuncao says: "I'm very grateful for the six years that I worked with Paula in helping her build the Deen brand. Although we had a great deal of fun along the way, I could not agree with the new business strategy going forward. Nonetheless, I wish them continued success."
Her departure will likely add weight - pun intended - to the argument that Deen has appeared hypocritical for her failure to previously disclose her diabetes and that Novo Nordisk showed poor judgment in selecting a spokesperson whose public behavior and business strategy contradicts the eating habits needed to combat the disease (read more here).