Last year, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain called celebrity down-home-cook Paula Deen “the most dangerous person to America,” adding, “She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she’s proud of the fact that her food is f—— bad for you. Plus, her food sucks.”
Tell us how you really feel, Anthony! But seriously, folks …Tuesday Bourdain did just that, taking to Twitter in response to Deen’s announcement that she has type 2 diabetes. In conjunction with that announcement, Deen also revealed that she’s teaming up with pharma company Novo Nordisk to promote the “Diabetes in a New Light” initiative. Essentially, Deen is shilling Victoza, “a non-insulin, once-a-day, injectable medication that helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.”
Upon hearing the news about Deen’s new spokesperson gig, Bourdain tweeted: “Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.” Ouch.
Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott backs up Bourdain’s criticism, saying, “Deen isn’t making a private decision on how to treat an ailment; she’s turning her ailment into a quite-public revenue stream. And she’s broadcasting a clear message to her legion of fans: Eat all the junkie food you want, and don’t worry, because the pharmaceutical industry will bail you out.”
Bourdain told Eater, “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.” Rumors had been circulating before Deen’s announcement that she was going to tell the world about her health condition, and Bourdain said he doubted she’d admit she’d known about her diagnosis for a while. Deen copped to the fact that she’s been dealing with type 2 for three years.
Philpott’s piece scrutinizes not just Deen (he says she uses her “Food TV forum to promote unhealthy food” and that her pairing with industrial-meat giant Smithfield may have backfired, noting that “industrially raised meat contributes to diabetes risk“) but also Novo Nordisk, citing proof that Victoza may cause cancer.
This is a personal issue for me, because my mother — very much a Paula Deen type of gal — has type 2 diabetes and regrets the way she handled food for most of her life. Still, she sounds like Deen in her slight denial. My mom says, “I still would have made the goodies but less often and portion control is the most important thing. You can still have those good things, but you have to be smart. Like you know how now when I make Italian food I have a big plate of broccoli instead of a whole plate of pasta? That’s how you have to do it. And keep movin’.”
Yeah. And don’t use butter spray as breath mints: