BA on Assignment

June 19, 2013

Paula Deen PR

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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I don’t know what to tell you about Paula Deen except, she needs a better PR team…

So this is the second such scandal afflicting the lady and all the things she bastes in butter. First, she gets diagnosed with diabetes and tells no one. But, continues to baste everything in butter… Now she’s a racist. At least this don’t have anything to do with BUTTER!

So my first thoughts when diabetes-gate revealed itself were, “This is an opportunity for her.”

Had I been in charge of her PR, her initial statement would have sounded something like this:

“I cook the old-fashioned, southern way and diabetes came and got me. But, not just because of my diet, but, because of my overall health. This is a wake-up call for everyone that moderation in your diet is essential.

Having said that, I stand by my recipes and will continue to cook the old-fashioned southern way. But, I will also embrace portion control and where I can find equal substitutes for ingredients, I will make the effort to be more conscious of my diet… I encourage you to do the same.

I also want to encourage fans of my recipes to incorporate exercise in their routine. Exercise will go a long way to off-setting the effects of some of our favorite dishes that we like exactly as they are, but, may not have the most healthy ingredients. This is again a good place to include portion control. I’m not gonna give up my Mac & Cheese, I’m just not gonna eat as much!

Join me in my new quest to own my health with exercise and portion control.”

Now, while she eventually got to something that sounded like that, it was long after the bad press had set in. It was only after she was approached by a pharmaceutical company to represent their diabetes medication that they got her to a statement something like the above. FYI – Pharmaceutical companies know how to do this stuff…

So, she fumbled that ball, but, didn’t lose the game. The course-correction made it go away. Paula Deen back on track… Until now. Now she’s a racist. Enter BA concepts, LLC…

“My comments with regard to the uniforms worn by older black gentlemen in the old south were in relation to a themed event I was planning. My goal was to effect the look and feel of the old south as that is my heritage, but, not to embrace the racial attitudes of the old south. While I can see how this plan and my comments can be viewed as racist, I in no way intended them to be racist.

Our world has evolved into a place where people of all backgrounds can be comfortable together. I live my life and run my business in full consciousness of diversity. For those people I have offended with my business intent in this instance, you have my most sincere apologies.”

This should have made the head-hunt slow down. And even if she still got the question that really sealed her fate – “Have you used the N word before?” – She would have been in a better position to say the following:

“I grew up in the south during the 1950’s. During that time, it was the norm in the south to use racial epithets like the N word with no concern for repercussions. This is now 2013. No good can come from the use of the N word and I have no use for it. I run my business and live my life with complete diversity in mind.

My recent comments about an event I was planning have been regrettable and I again want to express my sincere apologies to anyone for which I have offended.”

Then she should have had her PR team pull together a diversity plan to reach out to underrepresented groups through their societies and organizations, first without any announcement about such. Doing it then talking about it right away just looks like a reaction, which, is what it is in her case, but, it’s the best she can do given the circumstances. It would have been better than what she’s got now…

What she’s got now is a fallen empire and the perception that she’s only reacting to being exposed and attempting to excuse it by blaming others. I think because she’s such a genuine person, her responses to these accusations have been very disingenuous. Crying on The Today Show… Pointing the finger at “haters”… Admitting she’s used the N word without giving a full explanation for when, where and why… She’s just a hot-mess and her PR people need to be fired. Again.

So, I’ve done some unofficial polling for how this is playing on the street and for the most part, white people are outraged and people of color are not surprised and not really offended. My subjects said they get that she is in her 60s, grew up in the south when most white people thought using the N word was okay and as long as she’s hasn’t used it in recent decades or in the present, let’s just leave her to cooking.

Too bad she didn’t talk to the black friends she’s been referencing BEFORE she made a fool of herself… It might have saved her $17 million dollars…