Celebrity chef Paula Deen is, quite predictably, being called a hypocrite both for hiding her diabetes while promoting unhealthy foods and for turning around and partnering with a pharmaceutical drug company that provides relief for diabetics.
Deen, a popular Food Network host, confirmed Tuesday that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, three years ago.
In the same breath, she announced a partnership with drug maker Novo Nordisk.
Fellow celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is perhaps her best known and most vocal critic, but diabetics across the United States are up in arms at Deen's disclosure.
“It is hypocritical [for Paula] to have continued to very publicly promote entirely unhealthy food choices so vital to the management of diabetes,” one told Fox411.
“We of course don't know the terms of her contract with the company, but it seems either stupid or hypocritical of them to be endorsing her lifestyle," says another.
Deen gave no comment when it was requested, but a source close to the network tells Fox411 that they found out about Deen's condition only a week ago.
Some of Deen’s fans expressed outrage that the 65-year-old chef had found what they believe is a way to capitalize on a diagnosis she kept secret for so long.“I understand she has an empire and a huge following to protect, but working with Novo Nordisk is just adding another revenue stream, and that is tweaking people like me who are in the diabetes education community,” said Carl Moore.
Moore, a type 2 diabetic and an educator on diabetic issues, said the news didn’t exactly come as a surprise to him and others with the disease.
“Many of us have watched the Buttuh Queen for years cooking with no thought for the consequences and waiting to hear she was diabetic,” he said.
Betsy Lampe, who has struggled with type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years, said Deen has already missed her first opportunity to educate victims.
“She didn’t tell us anything on the 'Today Show'; she got really defensive,” Lampe said. “She didn’t even tell us what her blood sugars were."
"You know, diabetics want to entertain and cook too. If I were her I would have announced a whole new show for entertaining as a diabetic. It was just offensive to me.
“She kept talking about moderation, but moderation in what? She didn’t explain.”
“She is overweight and that makes her, in my opinion, not credible or valid to promote diabetes drugs,” adds Richard Deems, a type 2 diabetic like Deen.
The American Diabetes Association, however, was supportive of the Southern chef.
“People may benefit from seeing how others successfully manage type 2 diabetes,” the group said in a statement. “Paula Deen, through her work with Diabetes in a New Light, is likely to inspire many people living with type 2 diabetes."
Hopefully, the group says, people will "take a more positive approach to their diabetes care. We commend her for speaking out on behalf of people with type 2 diabetes and welcome her to the Association’s Stop Diabetes movement.”