Over Two Years and Paula Deen Couldn’t Be Saved?


Paula Deen shown above. Image by TMZ.com. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2013.
Paula Deen shown above. Image by TMZ.com. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2013.


Over the past several days the entire world has watched Paula Deen’s career implode. Deep fried butter jokes and heated racial discussions have been the center of much of the public’s talk surrounding her thanks to the National Enquirer exposing her discriminatory words during a May 17th legal deposition. The deposition is the result of a lawsuit by Lisa T. Jackson, a Caucasian woman, who states she witnessed Paula and her brother, Bubba Hier, make discriminatory and sexual harassment statements and even acts of violence during her years with Deen Enterprises. This document reveals Deen admitting to not only using the “N” word, but also statements against those who are Jewish, black and other inappropriate workplace comments.

What is perplexing to me over this entire Deen meltdown is the fact this issue has been going on for over two years. This issue was knowledge to not only her previous, but current public relations agency. Why wasn’t a winning strategy executed or in place for this firestorm? WSAV, a NBC news affiliate, has this lawsuit going back to at least January 2011. Nancy Assuncao admits during a recent CNN interview for having worked with Deen for six years. The timeframe of her work covers when this allegation by Jackson first arose. According to Reuters.com, Oliver Maner LLP, attorney office for Deen, released a statement regarding the lawsuit in March 2012 and listed Deen’s public relations contact as The Rose Group. The Rose Group apparently replaced Assuncao who resigned during the Victoza, a Novo Nordisk drug, debacle. Again, it’s just not clear as to why did it come to the Food Network not renewing their contract with her and QVC distancing themselves away? Why is Paula Deen losing this fight?

This leads one to believe either one or more of the following three things happened:

  1. Paula Deen was in denial to her public relations team about making any offensive statements to or around employees; or
  2. Her public relations team underestimated the response and was unable to develop a fireproof strategy; or
  3. A strategy was created and Deen decided to not follow it.

It’s quite sad to think with over two years of time, pre-emptive moves to solidify Deen’s feelings of acceptance of all man-kind hadn’t drowned the airwaves in order to strengthen the fan base prior to the deposition. What would lead to Deen not being ready to schedule and appear at several interviews to denounce any foul intent in what Jackson may or may not have witnessed during her tenure with Deen Enterprises?

Instead there is a no-show on the TODAY Show, two apology videos, one of which Juda Engelmayer, Senior Vice President of 5W Public Relations was present during the recording, a loss of a television contract with the Food Network and no scheduled appearances to move her cookware line on QVC.

So as we wait it out to see what will happen next, if an additional agency will be brought in to help per rumor or if she’ll just sit back and wait until the lawsuit and public frying is done, it should be an interesting case study for practitioners everywhere to say the least.

What do you think? Why do you think Paula’s empire burned? Do the pr professionals who are or were around her have any blame in this? Comment below. Your reply may be used for a future post.


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.


Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.


6 thoughts on “Over Two Years and Paula Deen Couldn’t Be Saved?

  1. Paula Deen is responsible for her own derailment on the fame train. No matter what PR agencies should or shouldn’t have done, being a good person is tantamount to becoming the kind of “famous” that lives on in the hearts and minds of fans.
    There are so many things wrong here I am not sure where to even start. Paula should probably just move away from the public with the massive money she has already accrued, and keep a very low profile….for a long time.
    Although, who knows, we may very well see a new reality show on the horizon….let’s just hope not. Now that would be painful.
    Brenda Ellison

  2. Sadly Paula Deen did this to herself. Her PR team can not change her beliefs or cover them up no matter how much they may try. She does not seem to think she has done or said anything wrong so I would bet she is not listening to her team’s advice. It is sad to see in this day and age that the “good ole boy” mentality still exists.

  3. As this case unfolds, in front of the public, her team will have a lot of work to do. Especially, if as you mentioned, she doesn’t feel as though her actions require any of the work they are doing.

    Thanks for reading and commenting Lisa!

  4. Oh Hell all of us have used the so called N word, and the only reason I don’t say what it is its because they wont print it. Blacks have to have something to bitch about. Get a damn life people. Whites and blacks have always disliked each other and always will. Don’t forget you have wiggers and wannabes, not to mention crackers, honkers, wetbacks, goosesteppers, spicks, greasers to mention a few, but the only ones that cry are blacks.

  5. Thanks Jim for taking the time to comment. The point of the blog was to discuss why Paula’s team nor Paula was able to prevent herself from losing any money over the allegations of the lawsuit. It is not clear if you’re for Paula who admits to liking blacks or if you’re taking time to voice your personal opinion.

    Either way the purpose of the post wasn’t to tackle race relations nor stereotypes. As we’re happy to share your opinion with the hundreds of readers of the post, it is not our goal to engage in a topic on sociology or race relations with anyone.

    Your comment will remain public for others to feel free to do so or to comment on the topic, public relations, at hand.

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