For a celebrity, being in the news is a fact of life. But Paula Deen's fall from grace is the kind of media coverage that's not exactly PR driven.
Since June, the Southern "lady" has been dropped by Food Network (although her page is still featured on their site, along with over 2,000 recipes); Target, Walmart, Caesars, Home Depot, and Smithfield Foods, among others. Even more shocking, Ballantine Books announced it would not publish Deen's new cookbook, Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up, even though the book had reached the number one spot on Amazon.com. The book has since been taken off the bookseller's site.
It seems, though, that the written word may be the key to Deen's salvation -- or at least mark the start of a turnaround in the public mind.
Hoffman Media LLC, publishers of Cooking With Paula Deen, said that they would continue publishing the magazine. Eric Hoffman, vice president of the privately-held publishing company out of Birmingham, Alabama, issued a statement that said "Hoffman Media has worked closely with Ms. Deen since 2005. The recent images portrayed by the media do not reflect the person we know on a personal or a professional level."
Though Hoffman issued a caveat regarding Deen's deposition, saying, "To be clear, Hoffman Media does not condone the use of offensive, discriminatory language or behavior," he concluded by saying, "we feel that Ms. Deen's apology for past indiscretions was heartfelt and genuine. Our partnership will move forward with greater sensitivity and understanding." There have been rumors that Hoffman Media might publish Deen's New Testament, but a company representative told Short Order that that likely will not happen.
Deen is also set to star in her own graphic novel. Bluewater Productions, which publishes comic books and graphic novels, is on track to release a Deen comic some time in October 2013 as part of its Female Force series. Despite some coverage, the comic will not chronicle the rise and fall of Deen's career. Jason Schultz, vice president of new business development for Bluewater told Short Order that the book had been in the works for some time before the Deen controversy happened and that the book is part of a bio-comic series on women. "We don't want the book to focus on her recent story," he said, although an additional page may be added to update the book regarding recent events.
This isn't the first female chef that Bluewater has written about. Past Female Force comics have highlighted the careers of Martha Stewart and Julia Child.
The company has also worked closely with some of its subjects to raise funds for worthy charities. In Female Force: Carrie Fisher the actress shares her struggle with bipolar disorder, and proceeds from sales benefit Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, a facility specializing in mental disorders. Proceeds for Female Force: Ellen Degeneres benefit the Humane Society.
Schultz said that although he "reached out to Paula Deen," he hasn't heard back but thinks she would be pleased with the book. "We're trying to be a positive force. We'd love to work with Paula."
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