Paula Deen Stays True to Her Unhealthy Roots

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The Associated Press scored an interview with Paula Deen Friday in which she responds to the widespread criticism of the way she went about announcing her diabetes, and the fatty-foods loving chef doesn't exactly sound penitent. 

Deen came under fire last month when she announced she'd be hawking a diabetes drug after keeping her disease private for three years while she continued to promote food like cheeseburgers on donut buns. At the time, The Atlantic Wire offered her some advice on how to save her career, but from the looks of her interview, she's not heeding much of what we and others had to say.

Sure, she's dedicated to cooking lighter versions of her food, but she's not exactly becoming a full-throated advocate for the kind of cooking that would prevent you from getting diabetes. As she tells the AP somewhat defiantly, "I am who I am. But what I will be doing is offering up lighter versions of my recipes ... I will have a broader platform now, trying to do something for everybody... But you know, I'm Southern by roots. I was taught [to cook] by my grandmother and nothing I can do would change that." 

Nor is she backing away from her drug promotion gig, as we suggested she should. She did, however, find a compromise of sorts: "Yes, I am being compensated," she tells the AP. "It's the way of the world. It's the American way. But I am taking a portion of that compensation and giving it back to the [American] Diabetes Association."

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So that's good, and yet, her inability to recognize why people felt so betrayed by her sort of overshadows the donations. "I think a few people who have access to a TV camera and ink kind of wanted to hate on me for coming down with something," she says. To be clear, no one was angry that she'd gotten sick. They were angry at the way she continued to promote behavior that would get others sick and is now benefiting from the drugs used to cure them.  As Anthony Bourdain so brutally tweeted: "Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later." We would think a little more repentance would have served her well, but hey, maybe people will admire her sticking to her guns under fire.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.